Who are VisitSápmi?
VisitSápmi is a tourism organization created and owned by the Swedish Reindeer Herders Association (www.sapmi.se). Our owners are the reindeer herding communities and other Sámi NGO: s in Sweden. VisitSápmi is operated together with Gaaltije Information Centre for South Sápmi (www.gaaltije.se/)
Our ambition is to join forces with Sámi in Norway, Finland and Russia to create a common organization. We will also seek cooperation with other indigenous tourism organizations in the world.
Sápmi is the Sámi name of our land. Lapland is often promoted as land of the Sámi. The name Lapland has been misused for mass tourism and simplification of the Sámi – but Sápmi is the true name of our land and we plan to make it known as such. VisitSápmi was created as a tourism and information organization to do this.
Sápmi (or Lapland) has been a magnet for tourists from all over the world and is visited by millions of tourists every year. This tourism often uses the land where Sámi people are living and herding reindeer. From a Sámi reindeer herding perspective, tourism is mainly another intrusion and problem. Problems like forestry, mining, hydro-power damming, wind mill plants, carnivores and tourism all add up to substantial problems that today threaten the very survival of reindeer herding.
Since the herding is based on natural migration of the reindeer, we don’t use all the land all the time. Roughly we are in the mountains in the west during summer and in the forest areas in the east during winter (although some Sámi communities stay in the forest all year around). If tourism is planned and performed in co-operation and with respect for Sámi needs and requirements, tourism is an industry that need not threaten the Sámi culture or destroy land.
We cannot stop the tourism industry so we need to get involved in the development and see to it that benefits also come to the Sámi. We must show the Sámi that tourism can be a good thing. It can help to spread knowledge about Sápmi, create income and preserve traditional know-how and values. But, VisitSápmi will have to work hard to convince Sámi communities that responsible tourism is possible. Negative impacts experienced and the fear that younger people will turn away from reindeer herding are key factors.
We want to develop more tourism that gives money back to Sámi communities. We want to develop this in a more respectful and sustainable way than what we see today. We want to co-operate with partners that share the same belief that sustainability is the right path for the future.
VisitSápmi wants to promote and develop sustainable tourism. We want to be involved in decision making in Swedish tourism. We want to share the Sámi knowledge. We want people to visit us, learn and become ambassadors.
- One objective of VisitSápmi is to help reindeer herding communities to create a tourism management plan. It will help them manage tourism sustainably and to assess and decide how to meet challenges from tourism and other exploitations.
- We help Sámi tourism companies develop products and help to start new tourism companies. Sápmi Experience is our main tool in developing tourism. But, we also have expertise available when Sámi entrepreneurs want to develop thematic tourism outside of traditional Sámi life – like in fishing, hunting and horse riding.
- In cooperation with partners like destinations, ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association) and VisitSweden and through this website we also help to market Sámi tourism. New partnerships with friends of Sápmi and indigenous peoples in the world are welcomed.