Articles Sustainable well-being Pulse

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