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Social Responsibility Strategy

Our Social Responsibility  

Mission Statement
"Skafur-Tour is an independent, fully licensed, local Finnish tour operator and activity commissioner. Our aim is to offer active holidays and holiday activities in Finland  to small traveller groups,  who wish to experience the most genuine activities run by the best local service providers. On our tours we will stay in 9 cases out of 10 in small, family-run hotels and guesthouses, eat in local restaurants and use local transport and other services as much as possible. Our tours are partly self-guided but in destinations the expertise of local guides are used as often as possible.  The travellers are hosted as guests by us and will be able to reach their own, local contact person throughout the tour.

Our extensive knowledge and life-long experience of travelling in our home country enables us to create tours providing you a real insight into Finland. We are able to recommend you the best time to visit each destination, to offer you only services which have been audited by us and to provide full service also outside the main tourist season.  In addition to the must-see-attractions you will be offered genuine experiences with the local people in the most beautiful Finnish nature.

We respect the nature and emphasise services leaving the minimum ecological footprint in the nature.  We respect the local people and their culture and include in most of our tours also a cultural part – from different perspectives.”

General comment
Please note that our group sizes most typically vary between 4 and a maximum of 16 persons. To keep the costs down in an expensive but very safe and well-structured country, there is typically no tour leader following the group but in each destination there will be one or more local guides and experts serving you. You will have a pre-planned schedule and instructions to be followed. Accommodation, meals, guides, activities and transportation are organized for you by local operators and using local drivers.  

Your dedicated local contact person is either a native or an immigrant who has lived long in Finland and speaks both Finnish and English, German, Russian, Spanish or Swedish.
  
Traveller’s Code of Conduct
Finland is both socially and politically one of the most stable societies in the world. Geographically it is a big country but the population is more and more polarised in cities. There are regions which suffer from higher unemployment and migration of working-age people. Skafur-Tour is promoting travelling nationwide and bringing guests also to the most remote areas.  All the service providers must however meet four basic criteria: authenticity, professionalism, safety and convenience.

Example: http://skafur-tour.fi/polar-day-rowing 

Each summer during the season of polar day in south-eastern Lapland  a three day rowing event for coxed 14 boats takes place.  The route is 110 kilometres. After every 2 hour leg the boats arrive in a new village, which is showing their hospitality  by providing break program and snack, lunch, dinner or accommodation. Skafur-Tour is collecting an international rowing crew  for two boats out of 14 boats in total. In each boat there will be a local English speaking guide telling about the culture and  keeping up the spirit plus a local cox swain, who knows the river and is taking care of the crew safety. 

Due to the reasonably high costs of working hours and long distances especially in the wilderness, services are not always available for individual passengers outside the main tourist seasons although tourists would be mostly welcome. By organising tours for small groups of travellers and pre-booking the services Skafur-Tour makes it cost-efficient for local service providers to open up their guesthouses and activities.

Water consumption is no issue in Finland as we have enough groundwater and surface water so we are not covering this topic at all.

Nature is our most valuable asset.  In Finland there is a law called Everyman’s right, which gives every local and every visitor a right to use nature for recreation and picking up berries and mushrooms. We also have 38 national parks, which are taken care by Metsähallitus. Skafur-Tour has signed a co-operation contract with Metsähallitus. The objective of co-operation is the ecologically sustainable tourism.

Example: http://skafur-tour.fi/tentsile-nature-adventure-more

On this tour every effort has been taken in order to minimise the ecological footprint left in the nature. The travellers will hike and paddle through the National Park instructed by two local guides. They will sleep in cottages and one night  even  in tree tent , in a Tentsile village. There will be a local wilderness cook preparing all the food by open fire and a wellness coach teaching how to relax after a long day of paddling.

Skafur-Tour  is an online company
We do not have a physical office, our sales team is a network of independent Finnish entrepreneurs working online from their own homes. We are not using paper, all our pictures, texts and publications are located on cloud servers. We only print  business cards with our web address. All the printing is done locally in Helsinki. Web site development was taken care by Atflow Oy, a small privately owned company in Joensuu, eastern part of Finland. The company has no car. We lease someone’s own car, when need one and always drive car full of people on our photo shooting trips.

Event and activity organisers:  our partners are local, professional event companies, which pay attention to the safety of their guests and are able to provide experienced guides communicating at the minimum in English. On request our native speaker can join the group as an interpreter and tour leader.

Accommodation:  we select mainly small. family run quality hotels, guesthouses or cottages, or in case of larger hotel prefer non-chain locally owned establishments.

Local handicrafts: we reserve time to meet local artisans and encourage our guests to purchase locally produced products.

Food:  restaurants and catering companies providing their services are using local ingredients.  We include half or full pension in our tours for three reasons, to reduce pollution and littering and increase convenience of tourists as well as to promote local culinary culture. In Finland it is safe to try also game as the hunting seasons and regulations are strictly followed. 

Drinking water:  in Finland the tap water is drinkable so we recommend our customers to take refillable water or sport bottles with them for activities.

Transportation:  we use public transport such as buses or trains whenever it is feasible. When it is more practical or cost-efficient to hire a minibus or a charter boat, we try to choose always the optimal size for the group and make sure we are not causing extra harm to the fauna and flora. Special attention has to be paid on birds in their nesting period.

Environmental Awareness:  there is a waste management system in Finland of which our customers are informed if they cook their own food or move by their own car. Empty bottles are taken to the bottle collection points, where money refund is given.  Also there is a sorting system for metal, plastic, paper and board. The National Parks have their own regulations, which are well presented at all the entrances.
 
Cultural Sensitivity:  each passenger is provided an article about the rules and regulations of our society. Traffic and alcohol regulations are tight and have to be followed. Also the Everyman’s law and fishing regulations are shortly covered with links to extra information sources. In Finland the standard of living is high and state welfare systems works well. Medical care is well available all over the country. Tipping is not used as service fee is always included in the price as well as VAT.  See more: http://skafur-tour.fi/practical-information

Cultural Norms:  there are vey few norms as the society is very open. People are friendly and well-educated and are in most cases able to speak English although they can be shy and keep distance at the beginning.

Charity:  preserving nature is our number one topic. We offer our guests an opportunity to visit the nature centres in order to learn, what we do here in order to preserve our unique nature. They can learn about projects, which are being carried out at the moment of their visit and participate in their own way. 

Conclusion
Skafur-Tour is a local company that provides culturally and environmentally aware, responsible tourism in Finland. We have the expertise to choose the most authentic activities in each destination. As we are local ourselves, we are able to visit and get to know each and every partner we have and discuss their policies and way of working. This not only creates trust but also enables us to offer the best possible travel experience for out guests and to bring employment to the local people not only in big cities but also  in the most distant geographical areas of Finland, not only during high season but also during the lower but yet attractive seasons.

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Location

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