Municipalities in Central Finland to unite in extensive tourism cooperation - regional tourism organization will start to operate in the beginning of the year in Visit Jyväskylä Region
Photo: Jukka Paakkinen
Joutsniemi, Leivonmäki national park
The municipalities have signed a three-year cooperation contract (2022-2024) with Visit Jyväskylä Region, which operates within the City of Jyväskylä, and will start as a regional tourism organization in the beginning of 2022.
Earlier, Visit Jyväskylä Region managed travel and tourism cooperation in nine municipalities in Jyväskylä region. In future, a total of 18 municipalities out of the 22 Central Finland municipalities will participate. In addition to Jyväskylä, tourism will be promoted by Hankasalmi, Joutsa, Jämsä, Keuruu, Konnevesi, Laukaa, Luhanka, Multia, Muurame, Petäjävesi, Toivakka, Uurainen, Witas-region (Viitasaari, Kinnula, Kivijärvi and Pihtipudas) and Äänekoski.
– Visit Jyväskylä Region is a tremendous opportunity for the tourism industry of the whole Central Finland. Tourism does not know municipal borders and actually even our joint tourism organization does not know them. The new organization is taking its first steps, but we are already excited about the new model in the municipalities. We are really creating something new and magnificent - raising tourism in Central Finland to the top of Finland and Europe, says the Mayor of Hankasalmi and Chairman of Central Finland Municipal Managers, Matti Mäkinen.
The new cooperation model conforms to Destination Management Organization (DMO), which is globally known in tourism industry with its main goal set in enhancing the visibility of the region, increasing tourism into the region and developing hospitality industry competence in the region. The center of activities typically includes for example marketing of national and international tourism, media and PR-work, travel information services, cooperation with enterprises and stakeholders, training and representation of interests. DMO focuses in particular on promoting the distinctive and unique characteristics as well as the travel and tourism services in the region. The operative activities and targets of the regional organization are based on the touristic strategy of Central Finland in 2021-2022.
Regional organization activities include also partnerships both within the industry and across other fields. On local level, the most important partners include JAMK Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences and Central Finland Union and, on national level, Visit Finland and Association of Finnish Travel Organizations SUOMA.
Central Finland tourism region attracts - professionals and holidaymakers
The DMO cooperation about to begin is exceptional also on a Finnish scale, and the basis of the model was drafted in the tourism strategy of Central Finland published at the end of 2020. The actual preparations and negotiations with the municipalities took place during the past year. Building of the operation and cooperation model for the Central Finland tourism region has raised interest widely.
– Many tourism regions in Finland, at the moment, look for a new mode of action and, therefore, the model we implement with its background processes has sparked interest also in other regions and in national context. At the same time, the situation in the travel and tourism industry is challenging, and yet also quite new opportunities have opened up to us because of the coronavirus also here in the Lakeland region. It is clear that without wide-range cooperation, joint targets and professional as well as systematic effort we will not succeed. This has been exceptionally well understood in Central Finland, says Susanne Rasmus, Tourism Director at Visit Jyväskylä Region.
Despite the effects of the coronavirus, the past year in conjunction with tourism can be considered reasonably successful in Central Finland, particularly with respect to domestic tourists. Registered overnight stays increased by 13.5% compared to the previous year. In October, overnight stays increased by 60%, and in summer we broke also domestic holidaymaker records in many places. In addition to various tourist campaigns Visit Jyväskylä Region organized 21 influencer visits and 15 media visits (visitors from Finland, France, United States, Germany, Russia), among other things.
Articles written about the tourism region have reached through various media nearly 79,000, 000 people worldwide. Furthermore, the Central Finland tourism region was presented in the course of the year to a total of 300 tour operators in tens of international sales events and tour operator visits.