An article titled "Animals at Work", which discusses animal welfare in tourism, was included in the latest Rovakaira's customer magazine (in Finnish). Rovakaira is one of the energy suppliers in Finnish Lapland. The article was written by Mia Sivula. The text is based on interviews with Miia Merkku (Arctic Reindeer) and Päivi Hiukka (Polar Lights Tours). Miia and Päivi are two of the entrepreneurs involved in the projects "Animals and Responsible Tourism" and "Animal Welfare in Tourism Services".
The article introduces both projects and the work done by the University of Lapland and the Lapland University of Applied Sciences on animal welfare in tourism. In the article, Mia Sivula draws attention to two important issues surrounding the animal welfare discussion in tourism: customer education and an animal-center perspective.
As stated in the article, tourists are usually not familiar with the animals working in Lapland tourism. Indeed, most visitors are unaware of the living conditions and needs of animals such as huskies and reindeer. As a result, there is a need to educate visitors on the animals they may interact with during their visit. As Miia Merkku explains, they have to teach tourists reindeer manners as they teach human manners to reindeer. In fact, a better awareness of the animals may lead to greater welfare and tourist experiences.
An animal-center perspective
In order to guarantee the well-being of the animals, it is is important that service provider put animals first. Customer should not always be king when it comes to animal-based tourism services. For example, Miia Merkku has many times said no to the request from customers to get inside the reindeer fence. As she explains, the fence area is the reindeer home and where they can just be among themselves. They have a right to their own private sphere. Also for Päivi Hiukka the well-being of their dogs come first and she expects the same attitude from their customers.
Text: JC García-Rosell (based on the article written by Mia Sivula)
In this post, we provide access to an article referring to the project "Animal and Responsible Tourism" and its sister project "Animal Welfare in Tourism Services" in Aamulehti (Finnish newspaper). The article "Animals have enormous value in tourism" was written by José-Carlos García-Rosell and Tarja Salmela and published in Finnish in the June 11, 2017. The article was triggered by our reflections after participating in the Finnish Human-Animal Studies seminar “Valuable Animal” organized by the Finnish Society for Human−Animal Studies in April 2017.
In the article, we draw attention to the value of animals for the tourism industry. For example, we draw attention to the fact that the brand of many destinations are based on animals such as a bull (Spain), reindeer (Finland), panda (China) and Kangaroo (Australia). Also tourism companies used animals as part of their brand value. Moreover, animals play an essential role in the travel experiences of many tourists. A trip to Africa are usually associated to a safari. Similarly, when thinking of Iceland, one think of whale watching or horseback riding.
Tourists are not indifferent to the treatment of animal used in tourism. More and more tourists are interested in the well-being of the animals they get in touch with. Indeed, Animal welfare is a growing concern in the tourism industry. Global tourism companies like TUI and TripAdvisor have already taken these concerns seriously and are working towards better animal welfare practices in the tourism industry.
Text: JC García-Rosell
During the last weeks, the local Newspaper Lapin Kansa has published several articles related to the work done by the Tekes-project "Animals and Responsible Tourism". These articles were triggered by the planning of one-day event dealing with responsible tourism consumption and animal welfare. The one-day event, which consisted of a seminar and workshops, was organized in cooperation with the projects "Animal welfare in tourism services" and "Growing high-level intellectual capital in Lapland". The event took place in Korundi House of Culture on June 12, 2017.
Animals in tourism
Just before the event, Lapin Kansa published the article "Animals in tourism - seminar discusses responsible services". The article not only informed about the event, but also drew attention to the relevance of the topic for local tourism companies. Indeed, today's travelers are becoming more concern about the welfare of animal used in tourism. The article introduced some of the experts invited to participate in the one-day event. Among them were Vicki Brown from Responsible Travel in the UK and Satu Raussi and Tiina Kauppinen from The Finnish Center for Animal Welfare.
Large tourism masses doesn't lead to profit maximization
After the seminar, Tiina Haapakangas from Lapin kansa interviewed Vicki Brown from Responsible Travel. The article was published on June 18 under the title "Responsible tourism expert in Lapland: Not always is necessary to target mass tourism". Although Vicki has written a lot about Lapland, this was her first visit. Vicki was impressed by Rovaniemi and its closeness to nature. She enjoyed hiking in Ounasvaara (local recreational area) and visiting places such as Arktikum, a reindeer farm and husky farm. According to Vicki, everything she saw was connected to the notion of responsible tourism.
Nevertheless, during her visit, she realized that local companies felt some pressure to expand their operations. This was specially the case of husky farms which has experienced a growing demand for their services. In the interview, Vicki suggested that Lapland tourism actors should carefully reflect on which direction they would like to develop tourism. They should think about what kind of place they would like to have in five or ten years. As Vicki stressed, Mass tourism doesn't necessary lead to profit maximization. The link above offers access to the entire interview (in Finnish).
What is good animal treatment?
Vicki Brown's interview was accompanied by a short article about the two projects working on animal-based tourism in Lapland. For this purpose, our Researcher Mikko Äijälä was interviewed. Mikko drew attention to the communication challenge. As he stressed, animal welfare may be understood differently among different nationalities and so expectations about animal welfare related information may differ among visitors. He also pointed to the lack of attention given to animal welfare in existing tourism quality and environmental certifications. The article was also published on June 18 under the titled "What is good animal treatment? Lappish project discloses that the understanding of travelers differs widely".
Soon we will publish a post offering an overview of the seminar presentations of the one-day event. So stay tuned!
Text: José-Carlos García-Rosell
In this post, we provide access to an article referring to the project "Animal and Responsible Tourism" and its sister project "Animal Welfare in Tourism Services" in Lapin Kansa (local newspaper). The article "The value of animals in tourism" was written by José-Carlos García-Rosell, Jaana Ojuva, Mikko Äijälä and Tarja Salmela-Lepäänen and published in Finnish in the May 25, 2017. The article was triggered by our reflections after participating in the Finnish Human-Animal Studies seminar “Valuable Animal” organized by the Finnish Society for Human−Animal Studies in April 2017.
In the article, we draw attention to the general discussion on the value of animals in society. This is a relevant topic in Finland where the Animal Welfare Act is just under revision. Indeed, one of the topics under discussion revolves around the recognition of the intrinsic value of animals - something that is not recognized in the current Finnish Animal Welfare Act. As we point out, this discussions is not only limited to farm animals, but also to pets and animals used in the leisure an tourism industries.
What is the value of animals in tourism?
For us, it is evident that animals in tourism have an instrumental value. As part of destination brands, tourism services, souvenirs and gastronomy, animals have a clear instrumental value. They helped generate revenues for tourism companies and entire destinations. Nevertheless, travelers may not see animals just in terms of having instrumental value. There is an increasing number of travelers that view animals as individuals with preferences, interests and rights. So travelers, as consumer, seem to recognize the intrinsic value of non-human animals. This is something that has been noticed by tourism companies such as TripAdvisor and TUI.
Although the law doesn't recognize the intrinsic value of animals, tourism organizations should consider that their customers may recognize it. As a result, they should carefully think how they want to answer to their customer expectations. To get access to the whole article (in Finnish), just click on the English title above.
Text: José-Carlos García-Rosell
In this post, we provide access to an article referring to the project "Animal and Responsible Tourism" and its sister project "Animal Welfare in Tourism Services" in Koiramme - a dog magazine published by the Finnish Kennel Club. The article was written by Antti J. Leinonen and published in Finnish in the April numero, 2017. The article is based on interviews with members of both projects, the owners of Arctic Borealis husky farm and a veterinarian working for the Lapland Regional State Administrative Agency (Aluehallintovirasto).
The article titled "Tourism Boom doesn't come at the expense of huskies' welfare" draws attention to the importance of sled dogs and their welfare in a growing tourism industry in Lapland. In particular, huskies are very popular among tourists. As the number of tourists grows so will the number of sled dogs. It is not surprising that many husky farms have doubled their turnover during the last winter season. Animal welfare is an issue of global concern. Large tourism companies like TripAdvisor and TUI have recently taken concrete steps to address these concerns. Husky companies in Lapland know that the welfare of their animals is essential in both operational and strategic terms. The interest in animal welfare is not an issue that only concerns western tourists, but also tourist from rapidly growing markets such as China and Singapore. Tourists' concerns about animal welfare are for real and will not go away.
To get access to the whole article (in Finnish), just click on the English title above.