The relevance of product development for the strategic planning of tourism destinations is usually highlighted in most tourism strategies and action plans. Both the attractiveness and competitivness of touristic places are based on the ability of private and public organizaitons to collaboratively develop economically, socially and ecological sustainable tourism products. In the Barents Region, which can be categorized as a pheripheral destionation, product development represents a central instrument for promoting economic development, environmental quality and social wellbeing. Indeed, while product development has a direct impact on profitability, competitiveness, employment and tourist expendinture, it can also contribute to preserving traditional industries, local heritage and the natural environment of this northern European region. Due to the strategic nature of product development, it is clear that the development of tourism products cannot be done in isolation from - or wihtout the engagement of - the main tourism stakeholders of the Barents.
There is an extensive variety of attractive and competitive tourism products and services across the Barents Region. The strong market positions achieved by Finnish Lapland, Swedish Lapland and Northern Norway clearly demonstrate that the Barents as a tourism destionation has maintained sustained growth over the last decaeds.
Despite the achievements made in terms of product development, there are still some municipalities in the Barents whre tourism products are nonexistent or in need of enhancing existent products. There are also commonly shared product development gaps across the different municipalities of the Barents that need to be addressed.