The SHAPE project

Sustainable Heritage Areas: Partnerships for Ecotourism (SHAPE) was a three years project (2017-2020) funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.

The aim of SHAPE was to enable authorities, businesses and communities to develop innovative approaches for ecotourism initiatives which preserve, manage and create economic value from local assets. The idea behind SHAPE is that, effectively implemented, ecotourism can preserve rather than destroy the natural and cultural heritage of SHAs while increasing visitors’ understanding, providing jobs, and strengthening community cohesion.

For achieving this, the SHAPE team worked on practical solutions applicable to the stakeholders involved in the different ‘Sustainable Heritage Areas’ in the project (SHAs) and then shared those experiences transnationally and make them available to communities struggling with similar challenges across the NPA region.

To achieve its goals, SHAPE will bring together stakeholders who rarely collaborate (e.g. from natural/cultural heritage, agriculture, fisheries, tourism) and have sometimes been in conflict, to identify common goals for developing ecotourism initiatives and working together to realise them.

Project activities and outcomes

The project has worked in the 7 different Sustainable Heritage Areas (see the map below) in which project partners and the associated partner from Canada were based engaging stakeholders and developing ecotourism initiatives.

SHAPE developed activities in each of the partner regions mapping assets, solving local challenges, building on existing activities and helping those who are in the process of developing new visitor experiences. The stakeholders shared the result of those efforts with each other through learning journeys and during the final conference. And all the results were incorporated into this dynamic platform of knowledge, structured as an e-service, set up in such a way that it continues to develop even after the project period.

Project partners

SHAPE project partners were biosphere reserves and regional parks (Sustainable Heritage Areas, or SHAs) and universities from Finland, Norway, Greenland, Iceland  and Scotland  at it involved 33 associated partners from Canada, Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.

Project partners:

Contact us

  • SHAPE Project Manager:

Dr. Rosalind Bryce