José-Carlos García-Rosell and Miia Ylinampa in the Arctic Reindeer Farm. Photo: Marko Junttila
The world’s first wellbeing criteria for reindeer used in the tourism industry have been created through cooperation between the Multidimensional Tourism Institute (MTI) of the University of Lapland, Going Green Oy, and Porotilamatkailu ry. The criteria supplement the Green Activities certificate intended for programme service companies.
For several years already, experts at MTI have advocated the inclusion of animals’ wellbeing into the development and implementation of responsible tourism services. A significant part of that work has been accomplished through the Eläimet ja vastuullinen matkailu (Animals and Responsible Tourism) project that was funded by Business Finland and has now been concluded. The criteria created together with tourism companies and NGOs were a natural sequel to this work. Similar criteria for sled dogs were published already in autumn 2021.
The benefits of the responsibility certificate are as follows: there is a ready-made structure for the responsibility-related work of tourism companies, certified companies publicly commit to approved practices, and the practices are verified by an external party.
– The well-being of animals in tourism remains an important issue. The creation and development of criteria for the well-being of reindeer demonstrates successful cooperation between tourism researchers and companies. It is also an example of taking concrete measures to promote the responsible and ethical treatment of animals in tourism. Thanks to this collaboration, Finland is on its way to become a forerunner in advancing the well-being of animals in the Nordic countries, notes José-Carlos García-Rosell, a senior lecturer and adjunct professor at the University of Lapland.
The published criteria are a trailblazer in a world that sets concrete requirements for how reindeer working in the tourism business are to be cared for and treated. For example, the criteria define limits concerning the daily work of reindeer, the way they are tied up, and their breaks from work.
A participant in the Animals and Responsible Tourism project welcomes the criteria wholeheartedly:
– It is great that the quality of the business has definite criteria that recognise the well-being of animals comprehensively. It is also a good opportunity for us entrepreneurs to show visitors and travel agents that we are committed to responsible business, says Miia Ylinampa, managing director of the Arctic Reindeer Farm.
The criteria require systematic monitoring from reindeer tourism farms. Getting the certificate requires annual reporting and regular audits ascertaining that the criteria are actually met.
Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor José-Carlos García-Rosell, University of Lapland
040 484 4190, jgarcia(at)ulapland.fi
Managing Director Miia Ylinampa, Arctic Reindeer Oy,
040 755 0197, Miia(at)arcticreindeer.fi
Liaison Officer Mari Mero, Going Green Oy
050 566 8733, mari(at)greenkey.fi