The goal of the Gorge Lake Arctic Resort investment project is to achieve a distinctive and comprehensive Arctic experience in Salla, by the beautiful and national park-like Kalliojärvi gorge lake. The large resort will be built in phases, so that the operations can be launched on short notice.
Gorge Lake Arctic Resort
- Phase 1: 15 + 15 accommodation units, main building and activity areas
- Phase 1 investment: €3 million
- Target volume in total: 200 accommodation units
- Total building right: 46,000 m2
Salla is marketing itself as a wilderness-like and ecological travel destination, in the middle of nowhere. Tourists are drawn in by the Oulanka National Park, the Salla Ski resort, Salla Reindeer Park and the numerous summer and winter activities available in the area.
Despite its wilderness-like location, Salla is very easy to reach: the Kuusamo and Rovaniemi airports are an approximately two-hour drive away, while the Kemijärvi railway station is roughly one hour away.
In 2019, 135,000 overnight stays were registered in Salla, and statistics show that the occupation rate of the local accommodation services was 42%. The number of overnight stays has been on a strong increase since 2014, and as of 2019 the growth appears to have settled down, as during the main season services are almost at maximum capacity. The most significant international markets are the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Britain.
Operators in Salla have identified potential demand for a new resort-like accommodation location, says Oy Kalliojärvi Gorge Lake Arctic Resort Ltd’s founder Seppo Selkälä.
– Gorge Lake Arctic Resort will be a high-class, all-inclusive tourist destination designed especially for international travelers looking for the peace and quiet of nature and Arctic experiences.
The beautiful natural environment creates a framework for the new investment
The project area, Kalliojärvi, is located a 20-minute drive away from the Salla town centre, on the western side of the Salla fell. The Salla Ski resort is a 30-minute drive away from the area.
The landscape changes from tall rocky cliffs rising majestically from the water to a ridge winding between lakes. There are more than five kilometers of shoreline in total. According to the project plan, the area will feature tree house-like accommodation units. The plan is to place them on ridges so that their large windows open into a view of the tops of pine trees growing on the slope below, the surrounding lakes and the hills looming on the horizon.
– The ridges and waterways of Kalliojärvi facilitate a placement scheme that is exceptionally impressive even in the Laplandish conditions, and every accommodation unit will provide visitors with a view that they can only dream about elsewhere, says Selkälä about the experience.
The total area of the project is 1.78 km2, and the approved detailed plan features up to 46,000 m2 of building rights. Thanks to the size of the area, the location can be easily expanded in accordance with demand, and a large portion of the activities can easily be implemented on the resort’s own land.
The main target group is international customers looking for natural activities while also enjoying the services of a modern resort. Selkälä says that especially in the initial phase, marketing and sales operations will also be carried out in close co-operation with travel agencies already selling trips to Salla. The project will also involve developing designated digital marketing and sales channels for the resort at the same time.
– We have surveyed the potential demand and started initial negotiations with more than 20 travel agencies, Selkälä comments.
Implementing a large project in phases
The project plan was created to be realized in clearly different phases. The first year will involve building 15 accommodation units, a central building and key activity areas. This will allow for a quick launch of operations in the location.
Over the next couple of years, the capacity will increase to 30 accommodation units and 60 employees as the selection of activities increases as well.
The location will be expanded systematically for ten years, as the planning facilitates a capacity of several hundred accommodation units.
The accommodation units will be built in groups and with enough distance between them to avoid disturbing the natural peace of the area.
A multidisciplinary team has been involved in planning the area and the concept, and in addition to the detailed plan and illustrative images, a feasibility survey with investment calculations and profit forecasts has also been carried out.
– We are looking for an investor and partner to help us take this significant developmental step in terms of tourism to Salla, says founder Selkälä.