Finland - Not for Everybody
After the Covid-19 there is not going to be new tourism - but there will be a big number of tourists who want something new. There are those who believe that Covid is just a fake news to prevent good people from all the fun and there is no such thing as climate change. These people are getting back to their old habits when it is safe enough, because also they have the little doubt at the back of their heads that the Covid could be out there anyway… They will book their cruises but not quite yet.
Culture and Special Interest Tourism
There is nothing new. The critics have emphasised ”culture tourism” and banned the mass tourism since the launching of the big aircrafts – which is not a long time ago. It started in fact in 1960´s. I got on board in 1975 and I am still here, somewhat anyway.
But maybe the time is about right now for developing sustainable culture tourism products with very special contents to very special targets and markets. Especially in our country. I want Finland to stay an exclusive destination with appreciating tourists spending a lot of money on sustainable local services and products. That´s all. After the Covid I see a beginning of something new here.
There will be those who are sick and tired of the endless entertainment and noise. American author David Foster Wallace wrote a collection of stories called A Supposedly Fun Thing I´ll Never Do Again. (Hauskaa mutta ei koskaan enää. https://www.siltalapublishing.fi/kirjat/hauskaa-mutta-ei-koskaan-enaa/, nyt tarjouksessa vain EUR 14,90 : Oostakaaa, OOstakaaa! ). There is a hilarious and a very sad report of a luxury cruise that is worth reading.
There are clients who want more. They have doubts in their minds that there is something beyond the FUN, something that perhaps would require them to excersise a little more but would then in return give something ”real”, that is more joyable than those experienced by the neighbourgs. And they have the money. They are afraid that their lives will end but they haven´t yet experienced what was promised for them at birth. And what they have paid for. They think they have their rights to explore, enjoy, get intellectual pleasure as well as physical pampering.
Finland – not for everybody.
Mistake number 1: You should never use negation in a commercial slogan
Mistake number 2: A travel slogan should always welcome the visitors
But what about if it would work?
Let´s invite here people who know where we are located and who we are. We are after all the happiest country in the world! Three years in a row. This is exclusive luxury not for everybody. Finland is not for sale under a designed brand but under the Northern Sky. I like the way some companies in Lapland and also in other regions in Finland keep their prices high – I wish they could be even higher but the basic quality and sustainability in services should be really looked over thoroughly once more.
Life is boring.
Holidays are boring, at first. The real fun begins when the tourist´s self esteem starts gradually growing. He is not lost and alone in a new place. Nobody thinks he looks stupid when he is asking questions. "Well – I already know something. Wait a minute: now the guide said something that I can recall, yes this thing I know", he thinks. "Interesting". And a miracle happens. He starts learning. And learning gives the pleasure that lasts forever. It is the sustainable joy that we can create.
Learning is possible only if the tourist finds something familiar in the new things that he is being told. He can combine the new with his prevailing knowledge and other stuff prejudices, beliefs, all the subconscious in his head. This happens in a second. And when he starts learning, you can´t stop him. He becomes Homo touristicus novus. The new tourist.
I was guiding a group the other day and there was a former American retired, high in rank officer of the US Marine Corps, and we were at the memorial of Marshal Mannerheim. ”On whose side were we on during your war?” he asked. I had tried to explain the history already for an hour or so, but probably so badly that my story did not reach anything in his own views of the 2nd World War. So I started to discuss with him and it was very useful, at least for me. We need to design new tour programs with special interest contents, what ever narrow the target market might be. This requires a lot of work, I know. And we are too busy. Really?
This is where the guides march in. We guides work close to these Homo touristicus lot. But too often we are made to perform just the standard program. Let us co-operate with you tour operating guys and let´s create something new. It is time the guides will be part of the service chain also in program designing.
More contents, more quality – more money – more happiness –at least in Finland.
Less damage. Less tourists.