The Sámi people have always lived close to nature and showed a great respect for animals and nature. We try to keep this approach and incorporate it in all our activities and tours. The environment, quality and the Sámi culture are very important for us when we plan our trips. Thus, our business is quality labelled according to Nature’s Best and Sápmi Experience. But we are constantly working to improve our work and refine our methods.
Nature´s Best is the first national quality label for ecotourism in the northern hemisphere. It was launched during the UN International Year of Ecotourism in 2002. Nature’s Best certifies and promotes the best Swedish tour operators and their finest products. Nature’s Best is your guide to the best nature tours in Sweden. They list the operators who go the extra mile for their landscape, local people, the environment and most importantly for you as a customer.
These are the six basic principles which Nature’s Best make sure are fulfilled by every certified tour operator.
1. Respect the limitations of the destination – minimise the negative impacts on local nature and culture.
Ecotourism is about preserving what the visitor has come to experience. The ecological and cultural capacity of each area must be respected. This means tour operators must have a solid knowledge of the destination, a local presence and work closely with others present in the area.
2. Support the local economy.
Ecotourism is about community development. Conservation can easily fail if local people object to it. Tangible benefits from tourism are a positive force. Each visitor contributes economically to the well being of the destination by renting rooms, hiring local guides and purchasing goods and services. The more the better.
3. Make all the operators activities environmentally sustainable.
Ecotour operators must set a good example of sound environmental practice. Approved operators have policies to minimise environmental impact by prioritising e.g. collective transport, sustainable lodging, waste management etc…
4. Contribute actively to nature and cultural conservation.
Ecotourism assumes responsibility for the protection of biodiversity and special cultural values. This means supporting nature preservation in various ways. Our operators cooperate to find ‘win-win’ ways of doing business.
5. Promote knowledge and respect and the joy of discovery.
Ecotourism is about travelling with curiosity and a respectful mindset. Approved operators are competent hosts providing visitors with a good introduction to the area. Good advice and guidance are often the key to a memorable trip.
6. Quality and safety all the way.
Ecotourism is quality tourism. Approved tours must meet and even exceed our customers’ high expectations. Safety issues are taken very seriously, and we have many satisfied customers. An approved tour operator is a trusted supplier and partner.
These basic principles have been interpreted and listed in a document of criteria signed by each certified operator.
Nature’s Best quality label is backed primarily by the Swedish Ecotourism Society and VisitSweden. Fore more information visit: http://www.naturesbestsweden.com.
In 2003 Nutti Sámi Siida got approved as a Nature’s Best operator and the labelling committee´s motivation (29 January 2003) says the following:
”A professional Sami tour operator with a lot of experience and in great demand by the Icehotel. Delivers thoroughly researched and genuine tours of the highest quality focusing on Sami themes such as the reindeer, Sami food and culture. A Sami enthusiast within the Jukkasjärvi Traditional Village Association, which both inspires and strengthens Sami identity.”
In 2011 Nutti Sámi Siida was awarded the prestigious Grand Travel Award’s Ecotourism Prize, as the operator that best represented and developed Swedish ecotourism in the past year. The nominated candidates are selected from those holding the quality mark, Nature’s Best. The jury’s assessment said:
”Nutti Sámi Siida wins the award for its long-term and patient work in uniting the Sámi culture with the global traveller’s quest for genuine and modern experiences. The concept has not just been a successful ambassador for Sweden’s Sámi population, but has also created attraction value and promoted one of our biggest tourism icons, the Ice Hotel.”
Sápmi Experience is a system to quality mark companies that want to work holistically. Those companies are able to communicate the Sámi way, they work ethically and they operate sustainable tourism. They are beares of the ancient and innovators in the tourism industry.
The labelling system is built with the same principles like Sweden’s ecotourism label Natures Best (see above). Sámi core values are added and all companies that can interpret Sámi traditional know how and are open for visitors can apply.
Quality, sustainability, safety and credibility are key principles for companies awarded the Sápmi Experience Quality label. These companies demonstrate a holistic approach to the Sápmi environment. They can convey information about this environment, and offer professional experiences for people visiting Sápmi. Visitors know that companies with the Sápmi Experience Quality label offer genuine Sámi experiences and are Sámi hosts.
Tourism activities under the Sápmi Experience Quality label are based on the common heritage of the Sámi traditions and environment. Sámi tourism must be sustainable over the long term. This means that tourism must be accepted and established, culturally and socially, in Sámi society, and the host must be able to communicate Sámi values and way of life. Sápmi Experience operators strive for social, cultural, ecological and commercial sustainability. They are companies that respect the integrity of the Sámi culture and work to prevent its objectification.
These companies also work constructively with other businesses, public agencies and organisations that respect the values of the Sámi tourism sector in developing Sápmi as a successful destination.
In 2012 Nutti Sámi Siida got approved as a Sápmi Experience company, and the motivation says:
”Nutti Sámi Siida in Jukkasjärvi is one of the pioneers in Sámi tourism. Awarded richly for their efforts to create sustainable and responsible ecotourism. At the heart of this company is the wish to tell the Sámi story so it helps Sámi life style and Sámi traditions survive. The company has always interacted with the Swedish travel trade helping to create a deserved place for Sámi tourism in Sweden and the world.”