Developing sustainable and low carbon tourism – DETOCS project

Thermopolis Ltd and the Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia hosted a two-day interregional learning event together with Steering Group meeting on 7th and 8th of November 2023 in Seinäjoki, Finland. The event was joined by project partners and stakeholders from Slovenia, Malta, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.  During the days DETOCS partners presented their SWOT and PESTEL analyses and partners got to know several good practices from the region of South Ostrobothnia.

People sitting in a conference room.
Partners presenting their SWOT and PESTEL analyses in Kalevan Navetta. Picture: Sanna Inkeri
Person using XR glasses.
Partners experiencing the region during summer via XR glasses. Picture: Sanna Inkeri

In general tourism in South Ostrobothnia is characterised by a strong summer season. The region’s tourism is almost entirely made up of domestic customers visiting major summer events and family destinations. Partners got a glimpse of the Tourism Strategy that is created by the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK) together with stakeholders. SeAMK also presented sustainable tourism projects and virtual tourism. They have worked on projects where they have increased the competence of companies in responsible tourism and created new ways for companies to implement and verify responsibility in their own business and reach new customer segments. Companies have for example been certified by the Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) programme, the Ekokompassi or Green key certificates.

The project partners visited the Kuortane Olympic Training Center (OTC). Kuortane OTC is the largest sports and sports tourism operator in the region. It is a centre of excellence for sport, physical education, wellbeing, education and leisure. They have set carbon neutrality targets high. Actions to achieve this have included switching from peat to geothermal heating, promoting wood construction, converting lighting throughout the site to LED lights, automating building temperatures and air conditioning according to use and amount of people, and building a solar power plant.

Gymnastics hall made from cross laminated timber.
Gymnastics Hall built from CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) in Kuortane OTC. Picture: Sanna Inkeri

Also, an entrepreneur presented the energy efficient systems in Hotel Alma and Kalevan Navetta (cultural center). The entrepreneur’s interest and focus are bringing new life to historic buildings, finding stories and letting them live on.

DETOCS project is financed from Interreg Europe programme. You can find more information about the project from its home page.