Wild Taiga is an association comprising approx. 60 companies in the tourism sector and operating mainly in eastern Kainuu in the area of Suomussalmi and Kuhmo. Most companies operating under the Wild Taiga banner are small, personal artisan entrepreneurs who have collated their local traditions, culture, knowledge and products, to offer visitors the best, unique experiences.
The member companies are, in the main, family businesses. Younger generations are taught the skills of the trade to carry on the traditions and culture. As small business they are dependable on high level of tourist satisfaction with meaningful experiences. As locals they are very aware of the impact tourism can bring to their area and work hard to keep a good balance with the nature, their provider – in all the definition of sustainable tourism.
The association’s mission is to monitor the sector’s general and common interests related to professional activities, to promote co-operation between its members and improve the sector’s general operating prerequisites.
Entrepreneurs in the association represent a comprehensive range of the region’s tourism offering. Active in the association are hotels, entrepreneurs renting out cottages, restaurants as well as programme service companies. Common to all is utilization of the region’s attraction factors in tourism. The main attraction factors in the eastern Kainuu area are unspoilt nature and the richness of the fauna, the colourful history of the area from the Winter War and the culture enriched by the spirit of the Kalevala.
The financial resources for Wild Taiga’s joint marketing are based on the members’ joint marketing fees as well as the city of Kuhmo’s and municipality of Suomussalmi’s funding to the association.
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sari Rusanen (chairman): sari.rusanen(at)kuhmofestival.fi, tel. +358 8 652 0936
Veikko Huovinen (deputy chairperson): veikko.huovinen(at)luukku.com
Urpo Heikkinen: urpo(at)upitrek.com
Ari Mäki-Runsas: ari.maki-runsas(at)kiannonkuohut.fi
Kirsi Piirainen: kirsi.piirainen(at)hotellikainuu.com
Ritva Huttunen: ritva.huttunen(at)kuutamokeikat.fi
Irene Paasovaara: irene.paasovaara(at)loma-hossa.fi
Hannu Lehtonen: hannu(at)hotellikalevala.fi
WILD TAIGA ONLINE-PROJECT 2018-2020
Association implements Wild Taiga Online-project in 2018-2020. The Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (Kajaani UAS) is also involved in the implementation of the project, being in charge of the technical design of the VR (virtual reality) environment marketing materials, which will be produced for Wild Taiga. As partner of the project, the VR laboratory of the Kajaani UAS provides its experience and knowledge necessary for the implementation of the project’s VR section.
Project budget is 397 313 Eur and it is funded by Kuhmo Town, Suomussalmi Municipality, Regional Council of Kainuu, Kajaani UAS, Idän Taiga (Wild Taiga) association as well as ERDF (70%).
Concrete project actions and set goals
- An online reservation system for travel products: Development measures of the project support companies in the Wild Taiga region in their intention to deploy the electronic Bokun reservation system by offering user training for all the companies in the introductory phase. Later, further training and specialist guidance will ensure more effective use of the reservation system, as well as training in marketing to make international tour operators and customers aware of the ability to book reservations online. By the end of the project, at least 25 businesses will have started to use the system that allows online reservation.
- Wild Taiga produces virtual reality marketing material: During the project, 360-degree video presentations will be created on 10 products or sights. These destinations will be shown on the map as icons or as simplified 3D objects. Users may choose destinations of interest by pointing at the desired destination with the virtual reality controls. This switches them over to a 360-degree video mode where they can watch the 360-degree presentation video.
- Wild Taiga included in Visit Finland’s Lakeland marketing campaigns: Wild Taiga takes part in Visit Finland’s sales events and campaigns that will open for it through the Lakeland collaboration together with other travel resorts in Kainuu. During the project, concrete measures regarding the Wild Taiga region will be planned in cooperation with Visit Finland. In all B2B and B2C marketing measures, it is now important to highlight and promote the new ability to make reservations online. The goal of these actions is that during the project international traffic on the wildtaiga.fi site will grow 5%. Also the combined turnover of the Wild Taiga companies as well as the overnight stays of international visitors in the Wild Taiga region (registered and non-registered) will grow annually by at least 5%.
Project manager, Ms Jaana Keränen, jaana(at)wildtaiga.com,+358 50 5920 505