Branding Barents, tour operators team up

Northern Norway Tourist Board conduct a project that aim to study how cross-border marketing of Northern Norway with Murmansk and Arkhangelsk counties can gain more visitors.The projects is supported with 500 000 NOK from the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.

“Tourists from the other distant markets find the Barents region attractive and part of the project looks at on how larger packages of adventure, culture and nature, like for example visiting both coastal Norway and historic sites in Russia, could attract even more visitors,” says Max Saltykov, the project leader, on behalf of the Northern Norway Tourist Board to BarentsObserver.

The tourist boards had a steering group meeting in the Barents tourism cooperation project, where the representatives of Northern Norway together with their colleagues from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk discussed mutual benefits and challenges for the joint marketing across the borders.  

“Other border areas, like between France, Italy and Switzerland have practiced joint marketing with great success,” explains Max Saltykov. He argues a “Barents-branding” of the destination products tour-operators can offer also could bring along increase in regional tourism among the people already living in the north.

 “We see a huge interest in cross boarder visiting, but there are few tour-operators in the Barents region that offers these types of products for sale. Language barriers and also visa access could explain some of the challenges”, says Max Saltykov..

In October, the tourist board of Norway participates at a larger Barents Tourism Summit in Arkhangelsk aimed at making those contacts. Boosting tourism is also a strategic plan for Arkhangelsk region, which can offer destination pearls like Solovki and Kargopol, in addition to the city of Arkhangelsk itself; once Russia’s first harbor city founded a hundred year before St. Petersburg.

We will participate in Arkhangelsk with the aim at developing closer relationships and discuss further development, Saltykov explains.

The main matters for discussion will be development of the interregional and cross-borders tourist products in the Arctic, emphasizing cruise tourism in the Arctic, realization of the financial instruments to support projects of Barents and Arctic cooperation in the sphere of tourism. Here, also tour operators from Finland and Sweden will take part.

In mid-May, the Northern Norway Tourist Board will for the first time participate with its own stand at the Northwest Russian travel fair in Murmansk. During this fair, the project will organize a workshop with the largest Russian tour operators interested in expanding their product range to include more destinations in Northern Norway. 

Text by: Thomas Nilsen, BarentsObserver.com

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