Responsible tourism: Finnish family winter adventure vacation
Accommodation and Meals: You will spend 7 nights at Basecamp Oulanka. This wilderness camp is a lovely complex of wooden buildings on the edge of Oulanka National Park and is renowned for its environmental and sustainability practices. They have won several awards including the VESTAS award as an ‘Outstanding Example of Accommodation’ and TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Gold Award. All energy used is renewable and all waste and water is recycled. The heating system used throughout the complex relies totally from nature using special wood pellets for fuel. Even the hot tub is run from an ingenious system that uses the excess heat generated from the sauna. Ingredients are sourced locally or at the very least produced in Finland, so guests can expect fresh elk, reindeer, salmon, vegetables and berries.
Activity: This trip offers a number of environmentally friendly winter activities, including: dogsledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, igloo building etc. If possible, man-power is used over motors to minimise carbon emissions and there is constant attention to a strong ‘leave no trace’ policy. We also visit a reindeer farm and museum where everyone will have the opportunity to ride a reindeer and try some lasso throwing. The farm is part of a co-operative and is dependent on tourist visits like this as it is in such a remote place. Optional activities like snowmobile tours are also run through local people, who really benefit from our business.
Conservation: Part of the trip cost is a contribution which goes towards wilderness protection and conservation of Oulanka National Park. This donation is used partially for the restoration of Kärpäskelhä- which is an old meadow area used for cows, sheep and reindeer to graze in. The meadow has been out of use since the mid 50’s and has since been growing freely, slowly losing its usual customers and instead becoming overrun with plants and insects. Now, with Basecamp Oulanka, clients can volunteer in Kärpäskelhä if they like and participate in conservation activities. Together with our local operators we have donated more than 60,000 Euros over the past 6 years to wilderness protection work.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Local Craft and Culture: Along with spending time with local people and visiting businesses (including the reindeer farm), we intend to share local culture by introducing clients to the varieties of handcrafts and local produce on offer here. Smoked elk is a traditional delicacy in these parts and can be purchased in the area, as well as traditional Lappish socks, hats, drums and Karhunkynsi tableware. By buying local crafts, we are contributing to the community and often encouraging customary craftsmanship which has lasted centuries. However, guides will remind clients not to purchase any products made with parts of endangered species whilst they are on the trip.
A Fair Deal: All of our guides are local and live close to the camp, which has a positive effect on the very high unemployment levels in these rural areas. This also ensures that all generated income stays within the community and helps the village to function properly. Our staff work all year round and receive wages every month- despite our working season not covering the whole year. All staff is educated on responsible tourism issues and this should come across to clients in frequent briefings on current environmental and community issues. Their training extends to topics like flora and fauna, socioeconomic systems and sustainable tourism.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 14 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.