Sustainable heritage areas: Partnerships for ecotourism

Shaping ecotourism

SHAPE project focused on a transnational set of sustainable heritage areas (SHAs) with diverse experiences of sustainability and regional cooperation involving stakeholders in heritage management, tourism, and governance. In these SHAs, the partners worked with local stakeholders, their organizations, and the institutions which support them, and incorporate their activities into regional strategies for sustainable development.

Ecotourism is an area of sustainable tourism offering visitor’s experiences and discovery of natural and cultural heritage while preserving regions’ integrity. It fosters the respect toward the culture and nature, reflects sustainable business practices, and thus creates local socio-economic benefits. Ecotourism also respects and recognizes local cultures, traditions and values.

The SHAPE begun in each involved SHA, addressing local challenges for sustainable development by mapping assets, building on existing activities, and helping those who are developing ecotourism initiatives. Project partners and stakeholders shared the outcomes transnationally through meetings, learning journeys and thematic networks. The resulting knowledge and tools are now incorporated into this open-access eService, designed to evolve and be used across the NPA region and beyond after the project ends.

News & Events

  • NPA Clustering Project ETRACT – Ethical Tourism Recovery in Arctic Communities

    COVID-19 is having a profound effect on the tourism sector in the Cool North and as the industry starts to move into a resilient, post-pandemic recovery there is an opportunity to look at more sustainable or responsible tourist behavior and address sustainability challenges in peripheral and Arctic areas that have been intensified by the pandemic.…


  • Sauna – the Finnish Cultural Heritage

    On December 2020, the sauna was accepted into the UNESCO official cultural heritage list. Presumably only now do Finns realize their weekly practice is valuable. The sauna is not only a place or space for bathing but it has various meanings. We might argue that sauna is a significant part of the Finnish identity.