Well-being from Nature
Organisation: Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Creativity and Health
Title: Well-Being from Nature – Hyvinvointia luonnosta
Region: South Ostrobothnia
Funding: Leader groups Liiveri ry, Kuudestaan ry and Leader Suupohja / Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
Project duration: 1.1.2020-31.3.2023
Total project budget: EUR 93 750
Target group: existing and new operators in the area interested in wellness tourism and the provision of Green Care services and products
The Well-being from nature project was aimed at micro-entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs interested in wellness tourism and providing Green Care services and products in the Leader areas of Liiveri, Kuudestaan and Suupohja. The project aimed to develop existing and new wellness tourism and Green Care services, to find new links between service providers and to look towards internationalisation.
The main objectives of the project were:
- To establish an international and national exchange of information on the organisation of wellness tourism service provision.
- To activate local actors in wellness tourism, nature tourism and green care activities and to activate the development of new and existing services.
- To disseminate information on existing wellbeing technology measurement equipment and to set up a business group project during which companies can focus on concrete development measures, for example in the use of wellbeing technology.
The workshops and study visits organised by the project in Finland, Ireland and Malta provided an opportunity to learn about different approaches and offerings, as well as direct contact with actors in the same sector in the partner countries. Entrepreneurs were encouraged to network and seek new opportunities to develop their service and product offerings. Examples of activities across traditional sectoral boundaries were presented to operators, for example in cooperation with forestry service entrepreneurs to diversify tourism programme services in the region.
Feedback from the entrepreneurs who participated indicated that the study visits were the most important contribution from their point of view, and their importance was undoubtedly underlined after a long period of isolation due to Covid. According to the entrepreneurs, the study visits helped them to evaluate their own activities by allowing them to take a step back from their daily lives. They also enabled them to network with entrepreneurs in their own region and internationally.
The project also enabled the participants to get to know different technologies, especially during their visit to Finland. In addition, during the project study visits, it was possible to test different portable well-being technologies.
Study visits organised in the project provided opportunities to search for different business models, networking models and digital marketing strategies. The phase was based on three areas with a focus on village tourism development expertise, product development and marketing channels, as well as communication and internationalisation capabilities development.
Inishowen (Ireland) April 2022
The purpose of the trip was to find ideas for entrepreneurs’ own activities. Ireland’s attractions included Doagh Famine Village, a tourist attraction built around an entrepreneur’s own childhood home that showcased Irish history in the form of an action park. In addition, local artisan culture, yoga, cold water swimming and Alpakka walking were also visited. Some also had the opportunity to explore the local Green Care farm activities and walk-and-talk tour with the local landowner.
During the visit, an opportunity was offered to test Moodmetric rings and Firstbeat wellbeing analysis. Oral feedback was collected on the use of these. In addition, Firstbeat equipment testers were provided with a reflection of the results after the trip.
Ideas created during the trip:
- Walking event connecting different villages
- Artist retreat: similar short courses could be arranged for those interested in them
- Guided swimming combined with health advice
- Animal-assisted Green Care services (Social farming)
- Forest yoga
- Telling stories and making use of history also misery is fascinating
- Walk-and-talk walks
- Distancing from one’s own activities opens eyes to see not only the weaknesses of one’s own activities, but also the strengths of the activities and operating methods.
- The most important thing is to offer something genuine and unique.
Gozo (Malta) May 2022
The second study visit to Gozo provided an opportunity to get to know the development projects in Malta and to make use of nature in wellness tourism. On this trip, only Firstbeat wellness analysis equipment was included in the experiment.
Ideas inspired by the visit:
- New products from Finnish natural products?
- Events with a nature theme
- Program services/guided walks
- More well-being services available from local entrepreneurs
- Important to celebrating local culture
South-Ostrobothnia (Finalnd) September 2022
The visit to Finland involved visitors in a sightseeing walk, a seminar and a visit to SeAMK’s smart home. On other days, visitors were introduced to the possibilities of Finnish nature for various well-being activities, such as fat biking, forest walking, cooking outdoors, feeding reindeer and utilising forest produce (berries). In addition, guests were able to get to know a couple of companies involved in the project.
During their visit to Finland, the guests particularly appreciated the friendly people, peace and quiet, forest nature and cleanliness. Special experiences included staying overnight in the forest and feeding reindeer. South Ostrobothnia was seen to have a lot of potential from the point of view of tourism, although it would be worth investing even more in marketing.
The South Ostrobothnian entrepreneurs involved in the project felt that the study visits provided them with new ideas, enabled international and regional networking and helped them to see the strengths of their own products. The ideas generated during the visits tended to improve their ability to receive international tourists. In terms of developing the reception capacity of international tourists, the feedback received during the visit to Finland was considered important.
Read more about how the Maltese and Irish visitors felt about South Ostrobothnia as a tourist destination here: New ideas for well-being tourism.
Listen to what the Finns and Maltese involved in the project think about South Ostrobothnia as a tourist destination and the potential of the region for wellness tourism. Marja-Liisa Pienimäki, an entrepreneur involved in the project, tells the biggest lesson was for her during the project.
Podcast in Acast (link)
Podcast in Spotify (link)
Links to the project partners’ websites
The Well-being through Nature project was implemented by Inishowen Development Partners (IDP) from Ireland and the Gozo Action Group Foundation (GAGF) from Malta.
Find out more about the IDP project here: link to IDP website
See Failte Ireland’s Inishowen Plan, where an executive summary and the full plan are available: Link to plan