Tourism in Ruka-Kuusamo area is based on the beautiful sights and the pure nature. Enhancing sustainable traveling is especially important for us. Sustainable Travel Finland is a program launched by Visit Finland, enabling us to make responsible actions and sustainable choices part of our everyday life in tourism.
Exploring the pure nature and amazing sceneries of Kuusamo is both passion and a way of life for Lotta Sandvik and Jussi Tupasela. Their company Outdoor Passion Finland offers sustainable, non motorized activities around the year. Since nature acts as the playground (and the back yard) for them, valuing nature comes granted. Since joining Sustainable Travel Finland program Outdoor Passion Finland has made a sustainability pledge and listed 10 concrete steps for enhancing sustainability.
When we are working in a sustainable way every day, we can make a positive impact for the future generations, Lotta sums up their thoughts about sustainability.
Professional touch makes satisfied customers
Outdoor Passion Finland takes their guests to the nature in small groups. This allows the guides to find time for telling the guests about local culture and tips for local services. This enhances the preservation of cultural heritage and the vitality of the local family-owned businesses, creating better livelihood for the whole area.
Skiing trips to the winter forests are a combination of the admiration for beauty of the wilderness and the abilities to move around in the nature. One must know the elements and keep an eye on the directions and weather. Outdoor Passion Finland is putting great emphasis on the professional skills of the guides and provides them with constant occupational education.
While the guests are experiencing memorable moments in the woods, they are also receiving useful tips for sustainable hiking. Pure, beautiful, untouched wilderness may be both fascinating and a bit scary at the same time, but the calm professional touch of the guides enables everyone to enjoy the forest trips.
We are telling all our guests about the Outdoor etiquette. It is important to know the rights and responsibilities connected to the Finnish specialty called Everyman’s Rights, Lotta and Jussi add.
Activities that Lotta and Jussi host are often educational experiences with emphasis on seeking one’s own limits and bringing the game up to a whole new level, but also with freedom of choice. Ice climbing, rock climbing and abseiling are considered as extreme sports, but Outdoor Passion Finland makes these sports accessible for everyone.
As part of the social sustainability and working for the benefit of the local community, Lotta and Jussi organize all sorts of events for the local youth, school kids and daycare toddlers.
When you are experiencing the joy of being outdoors and exploring new things, your self-esteem becomes stronger and you learn a lot at the same time, Lotta explains. – This is our way of supporting the wellbeing and development of the local community. Feelings of success and conquering your fears are important for children and adults alike.
At summertime one can find Lotta and Jussi at the shore of lake Talvijärvi operating their Stand-Up Board rentals. SUP paddling is a great way to explore nature while leaving no trace. One of the most unique places for SUP paddling in Kuusamo is Oulanka river in Oulanka National Park, one of the venues of the annual Ruka SUP Weekend.
Love of nature is in our blood. Since the beginning of its existence our company has focused on non motorized, sustainable adventures. We have the growing desire to help everyone to enjoy outdoor activities and find the joy for sports, Lotta and Jussi explain.
Carbon footprint calculator supports sustainable choices
Measuring the actions for sustainability is the next step for Outdoor Passion Finland. Lotta and Jussi are seeking for a suitable carbon footprint calculator in order to estimate the footprint for each activity. This could make it easier for guests to make sustainable choices and understand their impact on the environment.
Holiday makers can have a big influence on the development of the sustainable travel, Lotta tells. – We want to make people think about their choices in everyday life. For instance, do I choose an avocado or a locally produced cucumber when doing my daily grocery shopping. Everything starts with making the first choice.
Text: Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association Photos: Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association and Outdoor Passion Finland