The tundra, Tenojoki Valley and the Norwegian border attract tourism in Karigasniemi, Utsjoki. The family business Guossi caters to travellers from Norway and Finland in a unique area.
The travel resort Guossi has already accumulated history in Karigasniemi. The Rasmus family established the business in 1995 under its former name, Kalastajan Majatalo, i.e., Fisherman’s Inn. Guossi provides various accommodation options, catering services, and rents equipment in Karigasniemi. Guossi is Northern Sámi, and it means guest.
The village of Karigasniemi is in Finland’s northernmost municipality, Utsjoki, next to the stunning River Tenojoki. Karigasniemi is situated in the vicinity of the Norwegian border. The road running in the area connects to the E6 highway, which, in turn, leads to the Barents Sea.
The unique Tenojokilaakso Valley is beautiful during all seasons of the year. Tenontie Road, which twists and bends alongside the river, has been chosen as Finland’s most beautiful road. In Karigasniemi, there are magnificent nature destinations and many outdoor and leisure opportunities, and it is the meeting place of three different cultures: Finnish, Sámi and Norwegian.
New CEO at Guossi
A generational change is taking place in the family business and Sebastian Rasmus has stepped into the CEO’s boots approximately one year ago. Initially, Rasmus worked as a kitchen assistant and, after that, as a manager at the company’s restaurant. He graduated with a Bachelor of Hospitality Management at the Lapland University of Applied Sciences and returned to Karigasniemi. Rasmus says that returning to Guossi was not self-evident, but he considered that losing the opportunity may have come to haunt him later.
Karigasniemi attracts active travellers interested in nature and fishermen to visit the Arctic destination. Most of the customers are from Norway and Finland. The most popular seasons for travel are during the summer, autumn and particularly Easter, which the Norwegians celebrate in an extended manner.
The area is an accessible Arctic destination. It is best reached by land. The closest airports are in Ivalo and Enontekiö.
- Read more about the business environment in Utsjoki
The tundra and Norwegian border create opportunities
Many things have already taken place during the first year. At Guossi, pricing has been reviewed, the website has been reformed, and marketing has been carried out. In addition, the recruitment of summer workers has been carried out with care. There are around ten employees, and, during the summer, there’ll be a few more.
Employees are attracted, for example, by offering employment benefits in the form of leisure opportunities, such as gym membership and fat bike bicycling, and finding them housing. When investments are made in the comfort of the employees, they will remain in the area for longer and will want to return for the next season.
Rasmus wants to develop program services to be included as part of Guossi’s operations in the near future. The company currently has equipment hire, such as electric fat bikes. Various leisure and active program services would be suitable for Karigasniemi.
Rasmus describes nature in the region as very beautiful but moving around is slightly more challenging.
– If you are looking for a more challenging destination, this is an excellent place to visit. It’s also rewarding differently than other fell destinations.
The unique fell nature and tundra create strong potential for travel operations. The area can be marketed to a target group consisting of active nature-goers and travellers intrigued by sports challenges. There are many nature destinations in Utsjoki, such as Kevo Nature Park, Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area, and Muotkatunturi Wilderness Area, which create added value to nature travel and make the area stand out.
In addition, the vicinity of the Norwegian border creates further travel business opportunities. For the locals, the border is as if it didn’t exist at all. The border increases the customer base since those travelling in Northern Norway can easily go to and from Finland, and vice versa. Local customers from both sides of the border provide stability for the company.
Sustainable business operations in Utsjoki
Utsjoki invests in sustainable development. A two-year ‘Sustainable Tourism in Utsjoki’ project is underway in the municipality. Low-carbon business operations are sought by developing change proposals to structures, operating models, investments, and the area’s general development. Environmental values are a significant factor for more and more customers when choosing a destination.
In addition to ecology, cultural sustainability is also essential, particularly in Sápmi, the Sámi region. Utsjoki is Finland’s only municipality with a Sámi majority. During the project, The Sámi Parliament implemented guidelines and accompanying materials on Sámi tourism’s sustainable and ethical operating principles, intended for travellers and tourism operators. The guidelines aim to increase awareness about northern travel destinations’ sustainability, the welfare of local communities, and the effects tourism has on the area.
Guossi also invests in ecology, for example, by acquiring composters and using green electricity. The building utilizes geothermal heating, which, according to Rasmus, has been an investment which paid itself back rather quickly. Additionally, they pay attention to smart energy consumption and waste minimization.