Sweden - Swedish Lapland
Tourism operators in Swedish Lapland have and are engaged in different networking processes and projects on the local and regional destination level. Many express fear that an additional process on the Barents level would be too much, before the local and regional networks and cooperation have developed and stabilized. Thus, new innotative ways to facilitate cooperation has to be developed. Speed-dating, benchmarking tirps etc. are suggested instead of traditional workshops and seminars. To attract tourist operators in cross border cooperation, not only best practices has to be presented but also actual business opportunities. Thus, the public projects with the aim of promoting cooperation also need to involve matchmaking with actual and potential customers for such cross-border ventures.
In many cases the entrepreneurs see no business prospects in cooperation, but rather obstacles such as language and long travel distances. Also administrative and bureaucratic obstacles such as travel visas, different taxation and law systems lesses the interest to cooperate. Many operators see new markets within the Barents rather than new business partners. It is needed facilitatorssuch as Barents projects directly aimed at entrepreneurs, providing education about Barents, as well as giving them effective ways of interacting with potential partners. The incentives international cooperation are experienced as low, although most see a potential for cooperation in the Barents.
As many entrepreneursdo not have any academic education, many are skeptical to the tradtional academy for facilitating tourism development. At the same time Luleå Technical University has iniatited new forms of cooperation wiht private business through student projects which have been very rewarding for the involved tourism operators. Authorities could encourage co-operation by specifically canalizing resources and findings to such cooperation processes. But funding should also be less bureaucratic with simpler application forms, more trust in the processes and participants and less paperwork, so that hard wokring entrepreneurs find it worth to take part in such funding and projects.