Joint Working Group on Tourism

Northern Lights over Arvidsjaur, Sweden. Photo: Alexandra Möller

The Barents Euro-Arctic Region is an attractive destination for international tourism. The significance of tourism as a source of livelihood has grown considerably during the past decades.  Tourism business employs a lot of people and thus provides income and welfare. This is very important especially in sparsely populated areas, where tourism is sometimes the only developing source of livelihood.

The Joint Working Group on Tourism (JWGT) was established to develop tourism business in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region and to promote ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable tourism. In practice, this means promoting multilateral co-operation and joint projects, networking and exchanging information and best practices. 

JWGT in Kiruna, June 2019

Video of JWGT in Kiruna, June 2019

The Joint Working Group on Tourism works on both national and regional levels. The national level provides information on the current state policy in this sphere, on the plans and programmes, on national legislation and amendments. The regional level implements the co-operation in practice.

The objectives of the JWGT:

  • to increase international awareness of and interest in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR) and thus promote incoming tourism to the area

  • to promote entrepreneurship and employment in the field of tourism in order to increase tourism revenue in the BEAR

  • to promote development and realization of cross-border tourism projects

  • to improve preconditions for tourism development in the BEAR e.g. by improving accessibility (flight and railway traffic),  developing all year round tourism and developing border crossing formalities

  • to maintain the unique tourism attractions of the BEAR by promoting sustainable tourism development and by adapting to the challenges caused by climate change

  • to build, develop, promote and market authentic high quality joint products based on the local cultures and traditions of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region, e.g. the cultures and traditions of the indigenous peoples

  • to co-operate in the fields of tourism education and research in order to recognize and spread good practices

The JWGT Mandate for 2018-2021 EN 
The Barents Tourism Action Plan EN 

The Multidimensional Tourism Institute, Finland conducted a study on tourism quality and sustainability programmes, labels and criteria in the Barents region. The study was financed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (The Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic region instrument) and is published here.

Sustainable Tourism Onepager for Companies / for Visitors


Ms. Hilde Bjørkli (Chair)
Head of Competence and Development
Northern Norway Tourist Board
Tel: +47 90179246

Mr. Rune Elliassen
Troms og Finnmark County
Tel: +47 91128749

Ms. Marit Wambheim
Troms og Finnmark County
Tel: +47 90885048

Ms. Monica Lejon
Regional Council of Norrbotten 
Tel: +46 70 387 3752

Ms. Erika Rosander
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
Tel: +46 8 681 6518

Ms. Gvantsa Parulava
International Cooperation 
Tourism Agency of Russian Federation  
Tel: +7 495 870 2921 (int. 60134)

Ms. Svetlana Zenovskaya 
Deputy Minister
Ministry of Culture of Arkhangelsk Region
Tel: +7 8182 215569, +7 921 2471181

Mr. Konstantin Baranov 
Deputy Minister 
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Archiving of the Republic Komi 
Tel: +7 8212 255480

Mr. Ivan Kiprukhin
Head of Tourism Department
Republic of Karelia  
Tel: +7 8142 792383

Ms. Hanna-Mari Kuhmonen
Senior Specialist
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 
Tel: +358 29 504 7008, +358 400 395 606

Mr. Tuomo Tahvanainen
Director on Tourism
Kainuun Etu Oy
Tel: +358 445514585

Mr. Heikki Ojala 
Development Manager 
Council of Oulu region
Tel: +358 50 433 3951

Mr. Sami Laakkonen
Manager, Public Relations
Regional Council of North Karelia
Tel: +358 50 443 1661

Representative of Working Group of Indigenous Peoples (WGIP) 
Mr. Andrey Dubovtsev
Agricultural Cooperative Tundra 
Tel: +7 921 1727567 

Project funding in Barents

The IBS has gathered information for all Barents relevant funding sources - more information below!

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Internship at the IBS

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