Finland 100 years candlelight procession organized by the Suttila youth club on Taikayöntie
Food is an important part of tourism. Often, we experience the best moments from our travels in restaurants and cafes or, for example, the tasting moments spent at farms and markets. There are wonderful food tourism destinations in Satakunta, and our food industry is also well known in Finland. However, the development of food tourism is still in its early stages in our region.
The tourism and hospitality sector composes a complex ecosystem that includes different kinds and sizes of businesses, economic activities and skills needs. The significant impact of COVID-19 in the sector and the urgent need to address the digital and green transition continues to challenge the sector and demands new solutions.
The tourism, hospitality and restaurant sectors are suffering from a shortage of labor, and the attractiveness of the sectors has clearly weakened in the eyes of job seekers. While some entrepreneurs have hit records in the number of customers, others are persevering and looking for ways to get back on their feet after the pandemic. As consumption potentially recovers, the sectors have faced major challenges in finding skillful workers.
At the latest, when a small virus began to turn the world upside down two years ago, everybody learned the word resilience. New, very exceptional circumstances demanded flexibility, new ways of thinking, new approaches, and the ability to remain optimistic. There is no single descriptive word to translate resilience into Finnish, so the word has become established as such here as well. What, however, does resilience really mean?
One of the missions of universities of applied sciences is to produce important research knowledge. The Center for Tourism Business Development is an excellent example of this, producing new knowledge and new solutions for tourism. Tourism operators are the primary beneficiaries of this knowledge, but very often also students. Best of all, students also have the opportunity to be involved in producing this knowledge.
International EU-funded projects are important for SAMK’s Center for Tourism Business Development, as they help to ensure the coherent development of tourism in the region in relation to other European regions. At the same time, best practices from other parts of Europe can be brought to Satakunta and current challenges of the sector can be solved together.
Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are revolutionising the world and tourism in many ways. Although tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic, local tourism has been booming and the number of visitors in rural and attractive nature destinations has increased. Sustainable and responsible tourism has also become a new norm.