“We will help visitors find destinations in the archipelago”

By Ester Laurell, Contact Point Åland
Published on 7.4.2021
Type of content: Interview

In English

“We will help visitors find destinations in the archipelago”

I saw an update on Central Baltic Facebook Group some time ago – Ira Lahovuo shared a post about their ongoing project Archipelago Access.  As I am living in the archipelago and realized this project is really dealing with an existing problem, I contacted her to get some more information.

- What is this project about, project manager Ira Lahovuo?

- We are developing a joint digital solution for tourists seeking travel information in Stockholm and Turku archipelago, project manager Ira Lahovuo working for lead partner City of Turku explains.
It is about making this vast, unique region more attractive and accessible: how do you reach and travel in the archipelago? And when you are out on an island – what can you experience and do? We will help visitors find destinations, “Points of interest” and things to do.
We are planning the web service for three customer groups: people at home planning for a visit, visitors on an island wondering “What can I do here?” and especially people in close urban areas.

Digital solutions based on scalable platform

We are building a scalable platform that uses existing information with automatic content updates. In the future, we hope that it can be complemented with other information channels and regions.
We must get all entrepreneurs onboard. For instance, we get the basic info on the tourism services to the web service through Google MyBusiness. Using channels like Google will benefit the companies in many ways through increased visibility.

Two interactive exhibitions

The project is also producing two interactive exhibitions - Utö Outdoor Exhibition on the island Utö with old mines in the Stockholm archipelago and Turku exhibition in the museum Forum Marinum close to Turku harbor. The exhibitions increase awareness about archipelago as a destination but also about the cultural history and the unique archipelago nature. The aim is to give visitors inspiration and ideas on what experiences archipelago has to offer. We want to emphasize sustainability and appreciation of the unique environment.
With the new joint digital service and both exhibitions, the project aims to increase sustainable tourism and contribute to the economic sustainability of local tourism businesses.
- We want to increase appreciation and avoid wear and tear of a very vulnerable environment, says Ira. That is why Turku exhibition also highlights the sustainability and responsible visitor behaviour.

- How has the project proceeded?

- Well, we have had a long planning phase and now the implementation is in full speed. The Corona pandemic hindered many of our face-to-face workshops and made collaboration more difficult, but we have a great team and solid foundation. We have been focusing on what is really needed, and we hope that our stakeholders will be happy to spread the word about the web service once it is launched.
We see this project and development of the platform as a beginning of the journey, not the end.