Action Area: Cooperation

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Tourism destinations are complex and dynamic webs of multi-stakeholder relations characterizied by multiple and divergent views and values, and lack of control by any particular stakeholder group. In a rapidly developing tourism destination such as the Barents, these charasteristics, combined with four national contexts, considerably increase complexity and uncertainty, creating a challenging transnational environment.

In order to develop tourism in such an environment, there is a need not only to promote specific national and regional objectives but also to determine common goals which maximize the economic, social and cultural well-being of the majority of stakeholders in the Barents. These common goals can only emerge by dealing constructively with differences and promoting cooperation, collaboration and partnerships through a joint decision making process that includes key stakeholder groups from different municipalities of the Barents.

Current Circumstances

Over the last two decades numerous public and private tourism stakeholders in the Barents have engaged in various forms of cooperation, collaboration and partnerships. The nature of such relationships exists on a continuum ranging from loose and informal linkages to more formal and structure alliances.

  • Personal business contacts and interorganizational relationships between educational institutions, tourism industy associations, local tourism boards and development agencies among others.
  • Clusters of bilateral cross-border cooperation and business-to-business collaboration can be found in different municipalities of the Barents.
  • National and EU financing instruments granting funding to projects promoting collaboration between public and private organizations acroos the Barents Region.
  • Regional tourism development organizations in the Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish municipalities of the Barents have gained a strong position in tourism related policies and decision making.
  • Tourism marketing organizations and destination management companies in the Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish municipalities of the Barents have become drivers of business-to-business collaboration.
  • The presence of the Joint Working Group on Tourism formed -incl. representatives from differents Barents municipalities - established by the Barents Euro-Arctic Council to develop tourism in the Barents though cooperation and networking.


Challenges and Development

Despite the existing collaborative practices amon Barents Tourism stakeholders, the current situtation is still insufficient for promoting succesful tourism development across the national borders of the Barents. There are certain gaps that need to be filled in order to improve cooperation in this northern European region.

  • Lack of channels for identifying and establishing contact with (new) potential business partners, networks and key public organizations especially across the national borders of the Barents.
  • Poor information dissemination regarding ongoin and future projects and initiatives for promoting cross-border cooperation and tourism development.
  • Lack of information on international events targeted to the tourism entrepreneurs in the Barents Region.
  • Lack of resources and organizational structures for assuring the sustainability and use of project results after the termination of project funding.
  • Prevailing ad hoc, temporary and loose linkages and collaboration between public and private tourism actors.
  • Propensity to plan, coordinate, implement and finance cooperation through temporary project-based structural arrangements.
  • Lack of more innovative ways of cooperation that go beyond conventional seminar, conferences, study trips and benchmarking activities.
  • Lack of public-private partnerships initiatives in the Russian municipalities of the Barents. Tourism entrepreneurs in the Russian municipalities of the Barents feel they need more support from public organizations and local authorities.
  • The variety of  tax regulations, commercial law and legal systems represents a challenge for cross-border cooperation.
  • Need for joint efforts fo the tourism industry in order to enable professional spelialization.