– The local detailed planning process of the Jyppyrä-Paljasselkä area is starting
A local detailed planning process is being started in Enontekiö’s Hetta to develop the Jyppyrä-Paljasselkä area. Investors and different-sized operators will be sought to take part in the development new tourism growth in the area surrounded by large fells and far-reaching wilderness areas.
The development of the Jyppyrä-Paljasselkä area is expected to take tourism in the area to a new level. A comprehensive development plan was prepared during the years 2018-2019 for the area that is situated in the immediate vicinity of the village of Hetta.
Mass tourism is aimed to be avoided in the future too, and the primary idea is to lean on local authenticity and current attraction factors. Trends identified in the tourism sector support resort construction and special accommodation situated at the heart of nature.
– We are seeking investors and operators for the area’s accommodation and programme services. The planning of the area has started with keeping in mind that many different-sized operators can participate in the development of the area, says Hannu Autto, development manager of the Municipality of Enontekiö.
At the southern end of the Jyppyrä-Paljasselkä area there is currently Hetta Hiihtomaa, which operates as a small-sized ski resort, and the Fell Lapland Visitor Centre together with its permanent cultural and natural exhibitions. These existing functions and services in the nearby area support the development of the new area. An important attraction factor is also the National Park of Pallas-Yllästunturi and its trail networks, which begin in the immediate vicinity of Hetta.
In the south-north direction, in an area of approximately five kilometres long, there would be space for a variety of operations from accommodation services to different activities. The idea is that the activity operations would focus on the southern part of the area, while tranquillity, darkness and peace would increase towards the north.
– Initially, a few hotel-type accommodation solutions, cabin construction and special experience accommodation have been planned for the area. Paljasselkä in itself is a steep upland region of fells, which enables sheltered slope construction that is embedded in the landscape with stunning views. There is an old radar station and terraced houses at Paljasselkä for which purpose a road and electricity lines run there, in other words the basic infrastructure already exists, says Autto.
The type of construction that is expected in the area shall be specified during the local detailed planning processes.
– The local detailed planning process concerning the area of Paljasselkä shall be initiated during the spring or autumn, and the existing plans for the southern part of the area shall be updated where necessary. Those interested in the area should contact us as soon as possible, in which case their wishes can be heard already during the planning process, says Autto.
Last oasis before the wilderness
Paljasselkä and Jyppyrä form a northern extension to the fells of Ounastunturi, Pallastunturi and Yllästunturi, and from a tourism perspective, they are the last stop before the far-reaching wilderness areas of the north which continue up to Norway.
– The area is in the immediate vicinity of the village of Hetta, and it actually forms part of the village. Hetta is an authentic Lappish village where you will find a lively Sami culture and reindeer herding, as well as long-standing traditions in versatile tourism services, says Autto.
The most important attraction factors of the municipality’s tourism are the surrounding, far-stretching wilderness areas, as well as the vicinity of the large fells. Almost 70 percent of the surface area of Enontekiö is protected, and there are four national parks in the municipal area or at its borders.
Autto also emphasises the vicinity of Norway as one of the area’s strengths.
– Enontekiö is a gateway to the Arctic Ocean, and on route you can see the different types of Arctic nature from forests to tundra, and from wetlands to large fells. The Arm of Finland is an ideal location to spot Northern Lights due to the low amount of light pollution, Northern Light buses head towards Kilpisjärvi from the shores of Norway every winter evening in seek of a bright sky. The area of Paljasselkä, which is being developed, is also a popular terrain for spotting Northern Lights, and it will continue to be an ideal place in the future too.
The registered overnight stays in Enontekiö have increased by a fifth in the 2010s. Enontekiö’s tourism is gradually becoming international; at the moment a third of the overnight stays in the area are from the international market. The registered accommodation capacity in Enontekiö has not increased much over the past decade.
– In terms of the number of tourists, growth is anticipated and there are clear signs indicating it, for example, from tour operators. We can see that the new area will also open new markets and create demand among different types of customer groups.
The accessibility of Enontekiö has improved, e.g. due to the bus connections running via northern Norway, and according to Autto, there are wishes that Enontekiö’s airport could be utilised in a more efficient manner in the future. At the moment, there are no regular scheduled flights to the airport, but due to charter traffic the number of air passengers has increased by more than 70 percent since 2010. Kittilä’s international airport, which is situated at a distance of 150 kilometres, also serves the development of tourism in Enontekiö.