Twenty-nine tourism development projects selected to receive funding
Between 3 July and 31 August, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Regional Council of South Savo and the Regional Council of Southwest Finland organised a call for funding applications for regional tourism organisations and other operators with a comprehensive approach to tourism development in the regions. The main objective of the funded projects was to promote the recovery of the tourism industry and to develop tourism in the region. It is now proposed that 29 out of the 89 applications submitted by deadline will receive funding.
The applications that met the conditions were assessed by an evaluation group composed of representatives of the Ministry and the two regional councils on the basis of the criteria specified in the call for funding. One condition was that the projects were compatible with the main themes of Finland’s tourism strategy. The main themes of the strategy are sustainability as a competitive asset for Finnish tourism, digitalisation of the tourism sector, accessibility that supports the growth of tourism services and securing an operating environment that supports competitiveness.
The selected projects contribute to the recovery of the tourism industry across the country. The projects will respond to local development needs and at the same time promote the implementation of the national tourism strategy. The projects will benefit several operators in the regions and will be carried out on a quick schedule by the end of 2021. The projects will focus in particular on developing digital capabilities and solutions, increasing year-round tourism, creating new tourism products and reaching target groups.
“The coronavirus crisis has hit the tourism sector particularly hard and its impacts on regional economies have been wide-ranging. The project funding now being allocated supports the recovery of the tourism industry and the regions, and aims to have long-term positive effects on tourism in accordance with Finland’s tourism strategy and the Government Programme,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
This is the first time a competitive call for funding has been launched for regional tourism organisations. The idea for the call for funding was raised at meetings between tourism operators and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment earlier this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the implementation of the call for funding was moved up to the current year. The amount of four million euros, which have been allocated to the projects, will cover their costs and related administrative expenses of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland and the Regional Council of South Savo, which act as funding authorities for the projects. The additional funding allocated for tourism is part of the fourth supplementary budget for 2020, which Parliament approved on 25 June 2020.
The funding authority for organisations located in the regions of Eastern and Northern Finland will primarily be the Regional Council of South Savo. The funding authority for organisations located in Southern and Western Finland will primarily be the Regional Council of Southwest Finland. The amount of funding allocated to the projects will be specified in the decisions of the regional councils (Southwest Finland on 19 October and South Savo on 26 October). Funding will require a decision by the Government on the regional allocation of appropriations to the Regional Council of Southwest Finland and the Regional Council of South Savo.
Jenny Hasu, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 40 65 83510 (general questions about the call for funding)
Hanna-Mari Kuhmonen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 400 395 606 (general questions about the evaluation of applications)
Heli Gynther, Director of Development, Regional Council of South Savo, tel. +358 40 773 7285 (evaluation of applications from Eastern and Northern Finland)
Tarja Nuotio, Director of Regional Development, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, tel. +358 40 506 3715 (evaluation of applications from Southern and Western Finland)