The purpose of Arctic-365 is to increase the value creation and employment in the cluster and in the tourism industry in Northern Norway through cooperation across industries to solve the low season challenges.
Our work will focus on identifying potential target groups throughout the year and developing «reason to go» experiences to meet their needs. Our purpose is also rooted in the new strategy of Innovation Norway, which works «to promote a nationwide tourist and tourism development throuhout the whole country».
Through the work in the cluster Winter Experiences Northern Norway, we have achieved to build a new winter season for the members. We will use the same methods and tools to eliminate the low seasons. During six years of cooperation, there has been a continuous strengthening of relationships and trust among cluster members, authorities and R&D institutions. The cluster has developed products and services, created packages which have been tested and presented in international markets, developed educational programs, and engaged in several R&D projects.
Northern Norway still has a great potential of increasing winter tourism, but also in spring, summer and autumn. The potential is to be redeemed by efforts within four priority areas:
Innovation, Internationalisation, Competence and Collaboration.
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen / www.nordnorge.com
The cluster has developed an innovation model consisting of three parts:
1. The segmentation model provides common knowledge about the markets, and also new knowledge especially about the Asian markets
2. Common methodology for product and other development. The BLT methodology consists of developing solutions based on needs and testing the products before sold to the market
3. A common online-based infrastructure that gather and categorise product sheets, documents and other relevant information used in the dialog between cluster members and the market
The innovation model will be expanded in Arctic-365 to include other companies and deliveries from other businesses. This in order to meet our target groups’ needs of new and innovative experiences.
Within the cluster, work to identify new distribution channels is essential. It is a priority to work with international markets, to open up distribution channels to the cluster members, and to strengthen our relationship to established international partners.
The cluster’s CRM system counts more than 800 international partners. The cluster connects its members and international partners through various sales activities in the different markets, and also by attracting potential collaborators to the cluster. To understand business culture, negotiations and how to build long-term relationships are important in our work.
The cluster also focus on accessability to Northern Norway by working with airlines and charter operators to improve means of transportation.
Through the work in Winter Experiences Northern Norway, we have developed methods and tools for the cluster members to use in their work.
Competence and quality have a high priority within the cluster.
A wide-range of competence enhancing measures have been taken. In cooperation with Visit Tromsø several courses for northern lights guides – in five year a total of 500 people have participated. Good feedback led to the development of courses focusing on whale safari and winter guiding.
The tourism clusters NCE Tourism – Fjord Norway, Arena Winter Experiences Northern Norway, Arena USUS, Arena Innovative Experiences, and HANEN (a national organisation for rural tourism and food) have initiated the development of a National Quality System for activity suppliers, attractions and museums. Combined with new knowledge about price elasticity, the quality system is a key element in order to meet the challenge of great differences in quality.
In cooperation with UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the cluster has developed the Arctic Nature Guide study to educate competent adventure guides. The focus is on the role of the guide, regional history, local traditions, and the use of local nature in a global environmental perspective.
The subproject «Arctic Tourism Competence» develops Norway’s first experiential based Master in Tourism. The study will start in 2019.
The individual cluster members have to strengthen their competences to be able to meet future challenges. Bases on a broad competence mapping, we will refer to existing courses or develop new ones when necessary. All courses are available locally / regionally, as long as there are enough participants.
When the cluster Winter Experiences Northern Norway was established in 2011, there was not a lot of interaction among the tourism companies. Therefore, one of the goals was to work strategically to strengthen unity and cooperation. An external evaluation made autumn 2017 concludes that the cluster, to a great extent, has reached its goal.
This work continues by organising interesting meeting places for the members, for example 3 – 4 cluster meetings a year and the annual SNOW conference. Furthermore, stimulating and facilitating common projects that also contributes to increased interaction among the cluster partners.