Sweden - Swedish Lapland

Major obstacles for tourism include long distances, remoteness and limited infrastructure for transportation. Although some entrepreneurs expressed that it is part of the exoticness of the North, it still is a major challenge in attracting international tourists. Also, the infrastructure is developed north-southwards, with limited infrastructure for east-west traveling. This is a major obstacle for cross-border cooperation and tour planning within the Barents Region. The region is lacking a regional flight operator that operates both remote areas as well as in an east-west direction. Road qualities in Swedish Lapland are poor, like in many other areas of the region. Also, the railway from southern Sweden has to be upgraded, i.e. the Bothnia railway has to be continued all the way to the Finnish border. Ferries and cruise ships along the coastal lines are other infrastructure developments in need. A non-tangible infrastructure facilitating cross-border travel, Visa-free and easy border crossings, needs developing.

Russian visa procedures and costs are regarded as a major obstacle for developing tours and cooperation with Russia. Very few operators, mostly within fishing tourism, have established activity in Russia. The obstacle is even greater for the development of cooperation, benchmarking visits and meetings to exchange information and knowledge. For Russia to be able to develop any cooperation with tourism entrepreneurs within the other countries of the Barents Region, the visa issue must have the highest priority.

A webpage promoting Barents tourism would be welcomed, but concerns are expressed about the organization and management of such and Barents webpage. A significant issue is whether such a Barents’s destination webpage should have an online booking or not. Another issue concerns the possibility of utilizing other forums such as social media as well as the resources and management of such forums. The national and regional destination organizations ought to be involved in updating the information database.