Sweden in spotlight for eco-awards at WTM

World Responsible Tourism Awards announce shortlist

Two small Swedish tourism enterprises specialising in eco-adventures in the far north are among the nominees of the World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM, sponsored by the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism.

Lapland Vuollerim, which markets the unexplored pearls touching the Arctic Circle in Vuollerim, Swedish Lapland, and Nutti Sami Siida, which hosts a reindeer lodge, reindeer sledding and a visitor centre for small groups, are among 57 organisations around the world shortlisted by the judges.

Winners of the awards will be revealed on November 6 during World Responsible Tourism Day, at 11:30 in Platinum Suites 3 and 4, ExCel, London.

Lapland Vuollerim offers around 50 ecotourism experiences centred on learning about everyday Lappish lifestyles. These run all year around. Experiences include midnight sun horseback riding, fishing packages, meetings locals, visiting festivals, berry picking, ecology tours, storytelling in a Sami tepee, forest Sami safari, skiing behind a horse, traditional outdoor cooking and more.

There is even a “house hopping” option where participants spend an evening eating an appetizer at the home of a local, the main course at another home and dessert at another. As many local people contribute to delivering these activities, this helps tourists immerse themselves in the culture.

Lapland Vuollerim began as a non-profit village initiative and is now run as a social enterprise managed and owned by villagers, reinvesting 100% into the local economy. It is the first company to have its products nominated three years in a row as Best Outdoor Product of the year at the Wilderness Fair in Stockholm.

Nutti Sami Siida works to conserve traditional reindeer herding practices and indigenous Sami culture. Holiday packages offer hands-on experiences by driving reindeer with sleds. This sustainable transport mode is eco-friendly as journeys with reindeer and sleds leave no trace, unlike snowmobiles which have contributed to the disappearance of the Samis’ indigenous culture, only remembered by elders today.

Visitors learn the old traditional Sami knowledge of taming and training reindeer. Promoting respect for nature and making each journey a discovery is part of the experience. Tourists become more knowledgeable about reindeer and connect with them on a deeper level when they spend nights at the Reindeer Lodge.

For the full shortlist see: http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/media/press-release-2013-shortlist.htm

TTG Nordic

[pictured: Sami children; Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se]

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