Today, Rewilding Lapland and the Swedish Ecotourism Society signed a partnership agreement in support of the conservation and restoration of the natural and cultural heritage of Lapland. The creation of sustainable nature-based economic activities is at the heart of the agreement aiming to, through tourism, foster finances in support of both nature and local people.
The Swedish Ecotourism Society has played a critical role in the development of the Rewilding Lapland initiative. In 2012 the organisation nominated Lapland to become one of the 10 showcases of Rewilding Europe and has ever since supported the development of the initiative. Formalisation of the relationship between the newly created Rewilding Lapland Foundation and the society was therefore a logical next step.
The two organisations have agreed to advocate the development of a new, nature-based economy in Lapland that is protecting instead of eroding the natural and cultural values. Through long-term cooperation, Rewilding Lapland and the Swedish Ecotourism Society, aim to create good examples and practices demonstrating how tourism development can create jobs, new income sources and support for nature. A rich experience of wild nature, wildlife and local culture will be closer to the centre of tourism development in the region, and will lead to the increase of the attractiveness and market outreach of Lapland’s natural and cultural heritage both nationally and internationally.
Lars-Anders Baer, Chairman of Rewilding Lapland, believes that “by creating a suitable enabling environment for tourism based on the natural and cultural values in Lapland, a new and real economic alternative for the people living here will shape their future”.
Per Jiborn, Managing Director of the Society, further explains: “We are very enthusiastic about the Rewilding Lapland initiative. It is well anchored among some of the regions most important actors and is designed to demonstrate what ecotourism really is about. The integration of tourism, reindeer herding and other economic activities with national parks and nature reserves provides a real opportunity to make a difference in terms of jobs, regional development, and the conservation of unique species, forests, rivers and other ecosystems.”
Rewilding Lapland aims at joining forces with local entrepreneurs, the Sami community, municipalities and other actors so that quality ecotourism, new businesses and products as well as more local, sustainable jobs will be created.