The regional tourism industry needs an increased competence on Russia. This is very important for tourism companies, especially in the county of Finnmark that shares a border with Russia. Most important, the companies need a better knowledge of the Russian language. A better understanding of the Russian culture and of the Russian market were also highlighted as important for development of the regional tourism industry. The regional tourism industry’s limited knowledge of Russia is an obstacle for increased cross-border cooperation in this part of the Barents region. Improvements on this issue could have a great impact on the regional tourism industry, as this would facilitate organisation of trips and activities that include visits in both countries.
Tourism companies need an increased competence on the other Barents countries’ tourism industries. Cross-border cooperation in tourism in the Barents region is today limited, and the tourism companies in Northern Norway need a better knowledge of activities offered in the other Barents countries, as well as of the markets and economies of these countries, in order to increase this cooperation and to further develop and improve their business. One of the interviewees said that he “would like to learn from those with best practices”.
Another priority highlighted by the regional tourism industry in Northern Norway is the need of an increased business competence in a more general manner. A large number of the tourism companies in this region are rather small and these companies need an increased competence first of all on sale and marketing but also on Information Technology and on project management. The lack of international competence and experience was also highlighted as an obstacle to further development. A better knowledge of business management would help the small tourism companies in Northern Norway to further develop and to expand. Good competence on sales and marketing is especially important in this region since the Barents region is a rather new international tourist destination.