Sustainable development and especially the fight against climate change are taken seriously at Santa Claus Village, says Antti Nikander, the coordinator of Santa Claus Village’s cooperative. The cooperative represents about 50 tourism and experience industry companies located at the Arctic Circle and in its vicinity.
Although significant steps in sustainable development have only been taken in the Arctic Circle in recent years, and although much work remains to be done, the direction is now right and the will of the companies for sustainable tourism is real, the cooperative believes.
The operators in Santa Claus Village and its surrounding area understand that everyone, including nature, consumers, entrepreneurs and the local community, are winners in tourism that is conducted in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Additionally, the work of sustainable tourism never ends in practice, because there are always opportunities to do things better from an environmental, local community and animal welfare perspective.
Below are some examples of how the cooperative and its member companies operate in accordance with the principles of sustainable tourism. The cooperative believes that the Arctic Circle will continue to see new and increasingly interesting examples of sustainable tourism.
In developing sustainable tourism, several Santa Claus Village companies have invested in certifications with industry standards. Bearhill Husky in Rovaniemi was the first in the Santa Claus Village cooperative to receive the prestigious Sustainable Travel Finland label. In addition, Arctic Snowhotel & Glass Igloos also earned the label in 2021. The cooperative believes that several companies in other areas will gain the certification as early as 2022.
Almost all of Santa Claus Village accommodation was built in the 2010s, and their carbon emissions are low. For example, Glass Resort, which offers glass igloo-type accommodation, utilizes air heat pumps for heating. In addition, heat pumps and the heating of windows in buildings utilize so-called green electricity.
Also, for example, Santa Claus Holiday Village‘s newest Premium cottages are heated with ecological geothermal energy using green electricity, and the older holiday cottages in Lapland use environmentally friendly district heating in many ways.
More and more companies in the Santa Claus Village cooperative have switched to using low-emission electricity. Particularly popular is the so-called green electricity, produced from renewable energy sources.
In addition to heat pumps, green electricity is also utilized in the Arctic Circle in other innovative ways. For example, Santa Claus Holiday Village’s five service cars and Santatelevision use ecological electricity. According to the cooperative, there is intention to develop charging infrastructure for electric cars at Santa Claus Village, which would provide low-emission energy for tourist vehicles.
The Santa Claus Village cooperative also organizes sustainable development training for companies in the area, and it has just completed its SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE HANDBOOK FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM. However, Nikander from the cooperative emphasizes that Santa Claus Village and its businesses still have a long way to go on the road to sustainable tourism.
The cooperative’s dream is that Santa Claus Village would become one of Finland’s first major carbon neutral tourist destinations in the long term, and that all of Santa Claus Village would receive the Sustainable Travel Finland label. However, that would first require that at least half of the companies in the area be certified.