Tourism in Finnish Lapland has become the main income source of employment and income replacing traditional industries such as forestry. Development from a period of extractive industry to an industrial society has come about quickly. In 1950 the largest part of Laplandís inhabitants lived in rural areas and more than half the workforce worked in forestry and agriculture. Today 65 % of the workforce are in the service industry, 22 % in processing and 10 % in primary production.
This huge growth in tourism and service provision has been developed in conjunction with a long-term sustainable tourism plan with one of the primary objectives being to maintain nature in its natural state while guaranteeing the traditional way of life.
Much of this has been achieved along with membership of EU development programmes, aimed at diversifying sources of livelihood, effective usage of resources and to increase export.
Approximately a quarter of Laplandís 100 000 strong workforce was unemployed in 1997. Promoting entrepreneurship, ongoing re-education of the workforce and development of the educational system to suit the needs of enterprises is continuing. The target is to diversify the sources of livelihood, increase the value of refinement production and develop new enterprises particularly in the area of tourism. National measures as well as EU-programme measures support this objective.
We embrace this philosophy, employing local activity providers and using only locally owned hotels. In this manner we help to maintain jobs in an area where unemployment was, until recently, very high. Additionally, the use of local suppliers ensures that the tourism spend filters through to local economies via the tourism multiplier effect.