We have been founders and then executives at VisitSápmi for five years. Now we have come to the end of the road and leave VisitSápmi for new work. To operate VisitSápmi without some public Sámi funding has led to impossible work conditions and to loss of credibility as a Sámi tourism organization. The small and financially weak Sami tourism entrepreneurs cannot themselves financially carry the costs of a tourism organization and a quality labelling system. However much they appreciate VisitSápmi. We have for several years been trying to convince the main stake holders about the importance of adding VisitSápmi to the group of Sámi organizations supported by public funding. We have not succeeded.
We hope that Sámi stake holders in the future realise that tourism is an industry that has to be addressed in a professional manner in order to protect Sámi culture, heritage and land from tourism exploitation and misuse. Sámi tourism can be a positive force when it is integrated with responsible tourism, sustainable tourism and Sámi values. Tourism can be a partner to create a positive image of Sápmi that make it obvious we all need to protect and preserve Sápmi traditions and ways of life from exploiting industrial and other forces. These were the basics why VisitSápmi was created.
It has been a privilege to work with Sámi from all Sápmi, Sámi outside of Sápmi and people all over the world related to the Sámi and those who are great friends of Sápmi.
We thank all of you who supported us!
Lennart Pittja, who will focus on his own company.
Dan Jonasson, who has been employed as project manager at the County Tourism Board of Västerbotten.