Facebook pixel

Celebrating 20 years of Wild Taiga


In the last 20 years, big changes have taken place in the world, but one thing has remained: Wild Taiga. The association behind Wild Taiga, Idän Taiga ry – a joint tourism association of small Finnish cultural, nature and tourism operators – was established in 2004.

The association is currently comprised of approximately 50 operators from three regions in Finnish Lakeland and Lapland. Wild Taiga’s products are unique even on a European scale and span across regional borders. They are also defined as regional attraction factors by Arctic Lakeland operating in Kainuu.

“From the very beginning, Wild Taiga’s strength has been its ability to combine culture and nature. Who would have thought 20 years ago that bear watching and chamber music, for example, could be combined into one package? Now we have a large group of international tour operators who utilise the products that bring various activities in the region together. Music, the Kalevala, bears, hiking and canoeing combined into the same trip form a unique top product in the region,” says Sari Rusanen, Chairperson of Idän Taiga.

“Together, we have gotten to know each other and our products, developed joint product packages, and participated in joint marketing, training and lobbying. This way, both small and large companies have been able to network with each other. One could work alone, but with cooperation, the work is more efficient, goal-oriented and fun,” Rusanen says.

A big thank you goes to Visit Finland, which has been involved from the very beginning in supporting the association’s goal-oriented measures in both marketing and wildlife tourism product strategy work with excellent results.

“Time flies by, and it has been great to get to follow and be involved in building the best wildlife product family in Europe. Wild Taiga has managed to reach the tour operators that offer trips to Finland and be featured in their travel guides. Specialising in wildlife observation and photography, the main seasons of which fall outside of our summer holiday season, is downright brilliant. It creates a unique brand for the region, attracts a sizeable customer segment and complements the contents of the regular holiday programme,” says Jyrki Oksanen, Visit Finland’s Head of DACH & Benelux.

Wild Taiga cooperation between entrepreneurs has been goal-oriented and long-term. Over the years, marketing operating models have evolved from paper brochures to digital and multi-channel marketing and sales. After Wild Taiga’s in-house workshops in the early years, Idän Taiga organised Finland’s first marketing webinar for international tour operators in 2017. Today, these webinars are part of everyday activities in tourism marketing. Idän Taiga now has a communication automation system that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as an operating model for utilising marketing automation.

The association has received numerous awards and recognitions for its work, including the following: Finland’s Emerging Tourist Destination of Excellence and the winning destination of the Finnish Guild of Travel Journalists 2008, the Scandinavian Travel Award competition’s top 10 in 2008, Finnish Champion 2011 in regional travel marketing, second place in the marketing category of the Chinese Tourist Welcome Award 2015 and a recognition for promoting LGBTQ tourism in 2019. Despite this, the work is not done for awards but for the customers.

The future also looks promising. Despite the stagnant economic situation, tourism is a growing industry, especially as an export industry. “It looks like international tourism in Arctic Lakeland will grow in the next winter season with Eurowings’ new flight routes. In addition to traditional winter activities, we offer unique experiences with wildlife and culture. These services can also be offered to customers by all Arctic Lakeland travel resorts,” says Jaana Keränen, Sales Manager at Wild Taiga.



Wild Taiga summer