Lapland is a cultural region in Scandinavian Europe, which includes the most northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The area’s scenic beauty is world-famous and Lapland rightfully takes its responsibility to the environment seriously and for ecotourism destinations.
To many people, Lapland is synonymous with snow-covered wildernesses, the dazzling Northern Lights and the hero of Christmas himself, Santa Claus. Naturally, ecotourism is now one of the major employment sources in areas such as Finnish Lapland and there’s no shortage of visitors all year-round.
The excellent skiing conditions, eco hostels and festive attractions explain why winter is one of the most popular times for Lapland breaks, but if you’re taking holidays to Lapland at any time this year, then there are several ways to help to support local communities and sustain the environment.
Etcotourism and Sustainable Travel in Lapland
Eco Touring the national parks
Lapland is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the world; eighteen in total. The green spaces, including the Urho Kekkonen National Park in Finland, are where to come to hike through stunning landscapes, get up close to the reindeer and enjoy an abundance of sports such as skiing, snowboarding and ice fishing.
Guided tours are available year round and these can be on foot, snowmobile or in some areas on husky-driven sleighs.
Booking eco tour of the parks by locally operated tour guides will help to financially support the local community.
Engaging with the indigenous population
If you’re travelling to northern Norway you can meet some of the indigenous Sami population and enjoy traditional reindeer sledging as well as exploring the Sami capital of Karasjok in Finnmark.
There are a number of Sami festivals each year including Sami Week in Tromso, where visitors can buy hand-crafted goods as well as traditional food from the markets.
There is always the option to purchase locally-made Sami products from Finnish villages like Enontekiö, including reindeer skins, wooden and leather goods and clothes from the many traditional sellers.
Eco-friendly accommodation and Eco Lodge
There’s no shortage of options if you’re looking for eco-accommodation or an Eco Lodge in Lapland. In Swedish Lapland, the Ice Hotel has to be redesigned and rebuilt every year, always with the environment in mind when it comes to innovative lighting and heating systems.
In addition, the people behind the TreeHotel in Sweden have actually found a way to secure cabins high up in the trees without damaging the trunks with nails.
Elsewhere,is another amazing Eco Lodge accommodation option, with igloos constructed from thermal glass (so heat energy efficient), under which you can fall asleep to the sight of the Northern Lights.
Supporting the environment and EcoTourism
There are holiday companies that take their responsibilities to the environment seriously and you can help promote ecotourism by choosing a responsible travel company.
Many Eco tour operators will give a percentage of each booking towards environmental and conservation concerns; this is usually in the form of a voluntary donation by the traveler during the booking process.
Flight emissions are another concern and many holiday companies provide the option of making a small financial offset, which will then be donated to organizations such as Climatecare.