Night sky and stars

Dark sky tourism – perspec­tive for green business

Karelia UAS has imple­mented the use of immer­sive tech­nolo­gies in the market­ing commu­ni­ca­tion of compa­nies’ prod­ucts and services in inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion, e.g. in the Digi2Market project. This co-devel­op­ment gave confi­dence to network­ing and inno­vated a new perspec­tive to further explore and inves­ti­gate the usabil­ity of new tech­nolo­gies to support differ­ent busi­ness opportunities.

The Irish part­ners from Digi2Market -project brought to the discus­sion the need to promote sustain­able busi­ness models and method­olo­gies in the service provi­sion of small and medium enter­prises on the theme of dark sky oppor­tu­ni­ties for tourism. Indeed, the coun­tries of the North­ern Periph­ery and the Arctic region are linked by low light pollu­tion, acces­si­bil­ity chal­lenges in sparsely popu­lated areas, infra­struc­ture already in place for tourism, digi­tal­i­sa­tion enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic, both in service provi­sion and as a source of information.

The topic was further explored through a short co-design project in which a team from Karelia Univer­sity of Applied Sciences produced a publi­ca­tion Dark skies use in tourism : Good prac­tices exam­ples This report presents both a snap­shot of the situ­a­tion in Finland and best prac­tices from around the world, provid­ing inspi­ra­tion for the poten­tial of dark sky tourism.

In addi­tion to the linked report, other studies have also been carried out in the frame­work of the above mentioned joint plan­ning project with contri­bu­tions from inter­na­tional part­ners. This wide-ranging review allowed us to create a mapping of the current situ­a­tion and to under­stand the needs of busi­nesses and tourism-related actors on the topic of dark sky tourism. We devel­oped a joint devel­op­ment plan and received funding from the North­ern Periph­ery and Arctic Programme in autumn 2022.

GLOW2.0 project – devel­op­ing tourism during the dark winter months

Through the GLOW2.0 – Green energy tech­nolo­gies for tourism growth devel­op­ment project, we are strength­en­ing commu­ni­ties and SMEs in Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Finland in a sustain­able way, creat­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to increase competitiveness.

GLOW2.0 supports busi­nesses and public organ­i­sa­tions to develop tourism during the dark winter months. This will be achieved by enabling the appli­ca­tion of immer­sive tech­nolo­gies in busi­nesses and by devel­op­ing collab­o­ra­tive appli­ca­tions show­cas­ing the night sky. These new solu­tions will be inte­grated into exist­ing tourism strate­gies and digital solu­tions for natural and cultural heritage. The aim is to enable busi­nesses to reach a wider range of target groups. These will allow compa­nies to develop their own busi­ness models for sustain­able development.

The North­ern Periph­ery and Arctic Programme is funding the three-year GLOW2.0 – Green energy tech­nolo­gies for tourism growth devel­op­ment project, which is about to start. Karelia UAS is the project leader as lead partner, and other part­ners involved in the co-devel­op­ment are PLAKY – Feder­a­tion of North­ern Lapland munic­i­pal­i­ties (Sodankylä, Inari, Utsjoki) from Finland, UiT – UiT The Arctic Univer­sity of Norway from Norway, SSNSV – Feder­a­tion of Regional Author­i­ties NW Iceland from Iceland and two part­ners from Ireland 1) UnaG – The Gaeltacht Author­ity and 2) WestBIC – Inno­va­tion and Manage­ment Centre WestBIC.


Marja-Liisa Ruot­salainen, Project Special­ist, Karelia UAS