In this context, the Joint Working Group on Tourism is committed to promote ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable tourism development that would also boost the local economies and encourage entrepreneurship. One of the main functions of the working group is to bring the key actors of the Barents tourism industry to the same table – thus providing a natural platform for the exchange of information, best practices and new initiatives concerning the region. In addition to exchange and networking, the working group is also looking forward to promote joint tourism products, services and development projects.
The most recent achievement of the working group – a comparative report on different sustainability certifications used in the wide region – was presented in the meeting of the working group on April 27 in Moscow. For travelers, the diversity of different criteria and evaluation systems makes it very difficult to choose sustainable services and products while exploring the region. This in mind, the report provides a good ground for the further efforts to harmonize and streamline the myriad of sustainability labels – and informs the tourism industry itself on different understandings of sustainability. During the meeting the members also discussed in detail the synergies between tourism and transport development and the latest news on Arctic maritime tourism in the Murmansk region and beyond.
The working group illustrates well the two-layered structure of the Barents cooperation. In the joint working groups, the governmental and regional levels meet: for instance, the tourism group consists of experts from respective ministries and regional authorities. Like in general in the Barents cooperation, the indigenous peoples have their own representative in the working group as well. Read more about the mandate, action plan and objectives of the tourism cooperation from the working group’s website.