Responsible tourism: Northern Lights vacation in Finnish Lapland, Harriniva
This Northern Lights- dedicated trip is thoroughly focused on exposing guests to the stunning nature of Harriniva, and operates with great care for the environment. Every day of this itinerary is open for guests to choose how to spend their time, and they are offered free use of snowshoes, cross country skis and of the hotel spa. This encourages recreational activities which are non-polluting and focus on physical health and well-being, as guests are likely to take advantage of facilities that are free of charge.
Many of the activities use completely natural facilities, making the most of the area’s animal-powered transport, as guests complete a reindeer safari and a husky safari. Not only does this minimise carbon emissions where ever possible, it also benefits the animals as it keeps them exercised and adds some extra love and attention to their daily routine. It is safe to say that most sledding organisations in this region take great care of their huskies, and we specifically choose husky farms that do so. Guests will complete their safari at the largest and most well-known husky farm in Finland, which places the health and well-being of the huskies as its top priority. They receive regular visits from the vet and an annual inspection to ensure their happiness and welfare.
The surrounding landscape also greatly benefits this trip’s itinerary, as activities such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing are environmentally harmless. When potentially harmful machinery is used, such as the snowmobiles, two people drive one snowmobile. This reduces the number of snowmobiles being driven at any one time, minimising the number of fumes and chemicals that are released into the environment.
Each activity has the goal of seeing the Northern Lights, therefore guests are taken away from the light pollution and sound pollution of busy, built-up areas in order to appreciate them. They will pay constant attention and awareness to their environment and the phenomenal natural properties of Western Lapland, admiring the stars and the Northern Lights, should they be visible.
All aspects of this trip remain local and close to the surrounding community. Activities are based in Harriniva and all guides are local, providing native workers with financial support and gain. Two of the included activities are a visit to a local husky farm and a visit to a reindeer farm, where guests join local families to learn about the history of the animals and their importance to the economy. This combines fun and thrilling activities with culture and tradition, teaching guests important Finnish pastimes in an interesting and enjoyable manner. This also benefits small, local businesses and maintains financial security within the community.
The dining on this seven night venture is also local and regional. Each meal is taken in the hotel restaurant, including a special farewell dinner which consists of only Finnish delicacies. Eating locally not only has its financial benefits, but also advocates tradition and cultural exchange, giving guests a taste of the regional cuisine.
Guests have the option to attend a Sámi Culture day, which involves learning about Sámi traditions and visiting a museum. This allows indigenous people to teach others about their lifestyle and customs which may otherwise be misunderstood or merely unknown. This is hugely important for such an interesting and diverse culture, advocating respect and understanding of their beliefs and values.