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Tuomas Vuorio 2005-09-28 Pécs, Hungary Possibilities of environmental friendly tourism in the region Lahti, especially challenges of the extension of the.

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Presentation on theme: "Tuomas Vuorio 2005-09-28 Pécs, Hungary Possibilities of environmental friendly tourism in the region Lahti, especially challenges of the extension of the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tuomas Vuorio Pécs, Hungary Possibilities of environmental friendly tourism in the region Lahti, especially challenges of the extension of the tourism season in the region Lahti – case Lehmonkärki Tuomas Vuorio Within the Interreg IIIC operation WaterTour – Improving of the Competitiveness of SMEs and Regions involved in Water Tourism Activities by Innovative Strategies and Technologies

2 Goals of the study To give a short overview of water tourism and projects connected to water tourism in Finland in the Lahti region To discuss the possibilities of environmental friendly tourism in the region Lahti, especially challenges of the extension of the tourism season especially from the viewpoint of the target company chosen: significance of waterways to operations of the company current and future operations of the company in the field of environmentally friendly tourism problems and possibilities connected with development of environmentally friendly tourism description of the current tourism season and plans for prolonging the tourism season as well as problems and possibilities connected with prolonging the tourism season

3 Projects connected with water tourism The Thousand Lakes Finland From Paths to Routes E6 & E10 Development Programme for Leisure Fishing Mapping project called KalaMökki (Fishing Cabin) Work Group for Lake Päijänne – Lake Saimaa Canal Project Fishing Finland Project Canoeing in the Finnish Lake Area LUOVI (data system for nature recreation supply) Classified Finnish Fishing Sites Project “Waterway Tourism” Lake Database A rowing tourism study Project “Seal Trail” – Planning Project for Water Tourism Route Network Finnish Canoeing, Cycling and Hiking Supply and Demand Abroad Coordination Project for Water Tourism in Central Finland

4 The province of Päijät-Häme Lehmonkärki

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8 Water tourism in Lahti Region Total area: 6257 km2 Waterways: 1124 km2 (18 %, double that of the average water area in Finland) Two basic elements of the Finnish travel scenery – ridge Salpausselkä and the Lake District – meet in the Lahti region. 3,8 second homes /km2 (the highest number of holiday homes in the Lake District) 208 rural tourism companies (60 work in their businesses full-time and ca. 150 part-time)

9 Water tourism in Lahti Region When listing 24 of the most popular tourist attractions in Päijät-Häme, the list does not include any sites purely based on the waterways The problem with Lahti and the southern lake Päijänne area has been getting the tourists to stop here so that they can attend the services and attractions in the area. Despite Lahti region being popular due to the Salpausselkä Ski Games and lake Päijänne due to its summer houses, the position of the region as a part of the Lake District in the Finnish tourism market is somewhat unclear

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11 Lehmonkärki Lehmonkärki is a marketing and product brand and ownership of the company is a partnership In 2004, turnover of the company was ca. EUR There are five permanent employees in Lehmonkärki, including the owners of the company, Mr. and Mrs. Ari and Marjo Yrjölä. In addition a large number of temporary employees, mostly from the field of program services. Beginning of the tourism history of Lehmonkärki dates back to 1967 when the first holiday house was built. All of the tourism activity takes place on the company’s and farm’s land but away from the farm itself and the buildings included in it.

12 Lehmonkärki - accommodation All of the round log villas located on a ridge-like cape fairly far from each other have a shoreline of their own. All of the villas have a yard of their own, a rowing boat, a pier and a sandy beach. Villa /147 m 2, 3 bedrooms and an open loft, special sauna, summertime beach cottage with a wood-fired sauna VIP Villa /200 m 2, a fireplace, a hot tub, a large patio, an outdoor dining area, etc.

13 Lehmonkärki - accommodation All of the Lehmonkärki villas have been classified with MALO classification for accommodation in rural tourist attractions. 3 pcs 8-10 person villas 2 pcs 6-7 person villas 2 pcs 4+2 person villas 5 pcs 4+1 person villas 3 pcs 4 person villas 1 pcs 14 person villas Lehmonkärki also includes meeting and party premises with proper AV equipment. These premises are highly versatile: a meeting room for 20 – 70 persons and party premises for 150 – 200 persons.

14 Lehmonkärki - customers Companies are clearly the largest customer group of Lehmonkärki. They comprise well over half of all the customers. Most companies are Finnish. Foreign companies come to Lehmonkärki as visitors of Finnish companies, and they also reserve accommodation by themselves. Private customers include families (family holidays) and groups (weddings and other parties). At an annual level, foreign customers comprise ca. 10% of the clientele. However, during the holiday season, they comprise almost half of all the customers.

15 In addition to outdoor exercises, one can play tennis or badminton, ride a horse, use a motored boat or a sailboat, ride a snowmobile, fish and practice extreme sports such as rock climbing or riding hot-air balloons in Lehmonkärki. Other examples of the products are adventure and team tracks, role and fantasy adventures, school riding and horseback riding, game tournaments, snow shoe safaris, church boat trips and various adventures bringing pleasure to the participants. The products can be roughly divided into three groups: those for companies, those for families on holiday and those for persons arranging parties. Lehmonkärki has several products connected with lake Päijänne, such as a boat charter service. So-called ‘Kelvenne Days’ are arranged when the customers are taken with a guide to the Kelvenne ridge island in the Päijänne National Park. Several products have been created based on the raft finished in Lehmonkärki - products

16 Lehmonkärki – lake Päijänne Significance of lake Päijänne as an attractive factor is very high for the company. From the viewpoint of the company, it is of utmost importance that Päijänne is developed as a brand in the future. Mr. Yrjölä considers lake Päijänne as a unified water system and talks about southern lake Päijänne only when talking about geographical location of the company. Mr. Yrjölä deems it very important that joint views regarding creation of an image for lake Päijänne and in all questions regarding the water system are found. Weaknesses: accessibility of southern lake Päijänne by land – the largest roads and the most travellers move away from the area and traffic arrangements make coming to the area more difficult. Therefore, an issue that needs to be solved is how to stress the fact that you are arriving at an area that is interesting for tourists and has significance as a tourist attraction, and how accessibility to the area could be improved.

17 Lehmonkärki – lake Päijänne As comes to the waterways, Mr. Yrjölä sees the differences in opinions of tourism entrepreneurs and the founders of the Päijänne National Park regarding the services of the national park as a problematic point. Ari Yrjölä deems lake Päijänne in the wintertime as an especial resource for the company. When frozen in the winter, the lake offers possibilities for realizing various products. The wintry lake is also a major competitive strength when compared to many other waterway tourism areas. Based on experiences gained by Mr. Yrjölä, foreign groups should be offered experiences connected with the lake in the wintertime as a counterbalance to traditional forest-related products. Ari Yrjölä sees the possible future moving of the snow barrier to the north as a major threat for the winter products and the winter season.

18 Lehmonkärki – lake Päijänne In marketing, lake Päijänne is stressed. Further, most of the customers are aware of the fact that the company is located by lake Päijänne already when contacting the company for the first time. When building the villas, the significance of lake Päijänne has also been taken into account: all of the villas have a shoreline of their own.

19 Environmentally friendly tourism is seen as a strength of the company. The company wishes to realize all tourism activities in an environmentally friendly manner. A customer-centred viewpoint to be a central issue. The company has strived to take into account environmental issues from the very beginning. For example, construction has been realized in an environmentally friendly manner. Treatment of waste water has been taken into account in construction: waste water is not led into the water system. Instead, it is treated in a proper manner and transported away from the area. Environmentally friendly tourism

20 Another example of environmentally friendly solutions is the fact that heating utilizing the lake is being applied in the main building, Iso-Haapa. Lake heat is solar energy that has been stored by waterways. The heat can be retrieved by using heat pumps and it is distributed via a normal radiator or floor heating system or by air-driven heaters. In addition to lake heating, solar heating is being used. The company has realised its waste management based on complete recycling: the villas are equipped with separate waste bins for all types of waste. Organic material from the kitchens is composted and glassware is being sorted.

21 Environmentally friendly tourism Impossibility of sorting waste in a sparsely populated area is a problem, however: despite the fact that waste is sorted inside the company, they go into the same bin in the municipal waste treatment plant. Mr. Yrjölä is also critical as comes to the delicateness of the waste treatment system. Food produced close by is one of the important themes used in Lehmonkärki. All oils used in motors and snowmobiles are high-quality environmentally friendly ones. Four-stroke engines are used in the fishing raft and the two larger boats, for example.

22 Environmentally friendly tourism Continuous training and development connected with environmental issues is being realised inside the company in connection with development of its operations. Mr. Yrjölä wishes that making of environmentally friendly choices was supported by the society. He believes that companies would do more to keep the environment clean if the investments made were supported in the same way as other construction projects. He also wishes that there were more flexible legislative renovations because the investments can be very large and fatal as comes to profitability for single enterprises. Mr. Yrjölä also calls for a faster transfer period from mere discussions to practical actions as comes to various environmental innovations, for example.

23 The tourists’ holiday seasons are also the most important times for Lehmonkärki, especially as comes to the cottage rental operations. The differences in holiday times for Finns and foreigners are evident in the operations and prolong the leisure tourism season. There are no single longer slow periods as comes to the number of customers, and the holidays are more like especial peaks of the seasons. It can be clearly seen that actions of single people and companies are becoming more similar. Therefore, the most important challenge for business operations are the high changes in volume of demand especially in the short term. Lehmonkärki – tourism season

24 Ari Yrjölä lists levelling out of the season peaks and thus filling in the slow weeks as the most important development target as comes to the seasons. Even though most solutions can be reached by developing operations of the company, some of the problems are connected with larger unities and thus the solutions are dependent on actions at the level of the entire society. It can be clearly seen that the company has – due to its versatile product selection and clientele as well as long-term high-quality operations – reached a situation where there are no actual long slow periods. The different customer groups complement each other. One can state that as comes to prolonging the tourism season, the company should be studied as a unity and a good example of successful operations. However, studying of the company’s operations does not give rise to all of the typical problems generally evident with the tourism season in the area. Lehmonkärki – tourism season

25 Conclusions In the vision created for the year 2020 in the Päijät-Häme provincial strategy, Päijät-Häme is seen as a centre of environmentally responsible business operations in southern Finland. In its part, the vision supports development of environmentally friendly tourism. The ecological nature of tourism business in Finland has been handled in several connections and one can state that many of the preconditions are good. Environmental friendliness should be a given: especially as comes to waterway and countryside tourism, environmental friendliness is a part of the nature of the business. There are excellent preconditions for realizing ecologically efficient business and in many cases, companies will be able to avoid large investments. On the other hand, the case Lehmonkärki also showed the need for support from the society as comes to larger investments.

26 Conclusions For many companies, environmentally friendly operations are more of a curse word than a possibility and one may only hope that the good experiences in Lehmonkärki will offer faith and be a good example to other entrepreneurs. When thinking about development of the tourism season, the case presented in this study is a good example that boosts faith in many ways. Commercialisation of the winter season has been successful and significance of the winter season will be more pronounced in Päijät-Häme when the warming of the climate transfers the snow bounder more closer to ridge Salpausselkä. An especially encouraging issue in the case of Lehmonkärki is the possibility to utilize lake Päijänne all year round. When talking about waterway tourism, the main attention is often paid to the short summer season.

27 Conclusions There is clear need for further research and projects. An extensive image of the state of waterway tourism in Päijät-Häme should be gathered. The results would be an important starting point for various projects. The following issues should be mapped, for example: –Ongoing and ended (waterway) tourism projects in the Päijät-Häme region –Existing information –Valid plans –Parties interested in the issue in Päijät-Häme –Waterway tourism products in Päijät-Häme, and companies offering waterway tourism products in Päijät-Häme –Marketing materials and other materials connected with the issue, such as maps –Parties interested in developing products connected with waterway tourism or in other ways being involved in a project of this kind.


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