Sweden - Swedish Lapland
Tourism entrepreneurs in Sweden have difficult to see a common identity in the Barents, due to different cultures and language, although we share many similarities, such as nature and climate, remoteness, sami culture etc. It’s important to fill the brand with a common value. They also have difficult to think themselves as part of Barents or its destination brand, as it associates with the high Arctic. It’s important that no country claims the name or are strongly associated to the brand (such as Russia).There need substantial public investments to create a common basis for understanding and knowledge of the Barents area, and investment that private entrepreneurs are not interested in or do not have the resources for.
There is a substantial lack of knowledge about the Barents area and its tourism business among the Swedish entrepreneurs. They have therefore today difficult to relate to a Barents tourism brand, as many operators still are working with the local and regional Swedish Lapland brand. Many see the launch of a Barents tourism brand as a political question managed on a level above the regional destination organizations. A new brand can also be perceived as a competition to existing brands and become confusing on an international market. It needs a lot of challenging work to get the brand known both within Barents tourism and internationally.
It is regarded as important that the destination brand is associated with a shared value for tourism actors to act on Barents tourism development. Most Swedish entrepreneurs see a potential for cross-border cooperation, although many interpretate this as obtaining a new market (the Barents) rater then border-cross cooperate on existing markets and products. Although there exists a potential for a cross-border production, these are seen rather as a narrow products such as snowmobiling along a cross-border trail, or cross-border bus tours, which in addition require complicated logistics. The potential for common MICE products are regarded as limited, due to the facts that conferences and conventions usually are place specific for certain conference facilities, and for cross-border MICE activities and events, the distances are too large. Some see however, marketing advantages if the MICE operators within Barents combine their marketing efforts by showing the common pool of exclusive MICE facilities of the north. But as many MICE operators indeed are competitors, competing for big conferences and events, such marketing cooperation need to be handled by an incoming operator on the Barents level.