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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 their 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 attempt to provide a wide social and cultural impact in the tourism destination areas. We also seek to include a cultural part – from different perspectives in our tours.” - Riitta Kiukas, the Founder of Skafur-Tour

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 leading 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.

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 of Finland. All of our 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 and destinations 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 even on the lower seasons.

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 (http://www.metsa.fi/web/en) with whom Skafur-Tour has signed a co-operation contract. The objective of co-operation with Metsähallitus is to provide ecologically sustainable tourism in Finland.

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 avoid the use of paper by locating all our pictures, texts and publications on cloud servers. All the printing needed to cover our needs is done locally in Helsinki. Web site development is taken care by Atflow Oy, a small privately owned company in Joensuu, eastern part of Finland. We don´t have a company owned a car or any other vehicle as we work from our homes. When it is needed to meet our customers or partners we attempt to use the most environmentally friendly way of mobility.

Event and activity organisers:  our partners are local, professional event or tour companies, which pay attention to the safety of their guests and are able to provide experienced and educated 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 and medium sized, family run quality hotels, guesthouses or cottages, or in case of larger hotel prefer non-chain locally owned establishments. By this we make sure the income of tourism stays in the tourism destination area and this way also brings more wealth and welfare to the people in those areas.

Local handicrafts:  we reserve time to meet local artisans and encourage our guests to purchase locally produced products to increase the sustainability also in the rural areas of Finland.

Food:  restaurants and catering companies providing their services are using local ingredients. We include half or full pension in our tours for three reasons: 1. To reduce pollution and littering, 2. to increase convenience of tourists, and 3. 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:  as the tap water in Finland is drinkable we recommend our customers to take refillable water or sport bottles with them for activities and not to buy separate plastic bottles for everyday 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 always choose the optimal size for the group and make sure we are not causing extra harm to the fauna and flora of any part of our tours.

Environmental Awareness:  there is a well organized 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 and the plastic bottles are being recycled. 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 in charity. We offer our guests an opportunity to visit the nature centres to learn what we do here in order to preserve our unique arctic nature. They can learn about projects, which are being carried out at the moment of their visit and participate in their own way. We also plan tours in collaboration with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) to encourage our customers to take part in the wildlife protection program here in Finland.

Skafur-Tour is a local Finnish company that provides culturally, socially and environmentally aware, responsible tourism in Finland. We have the expertise to choose the most authentic and responsible 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 to discuss their policies and way of working. This creates trust and cooperation with our partners and helps us to provide a larger division of income within the tourism sector in Finland, it 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 rural areas of Finland. It also helps us to increase the lenght of the tourism seasons and bring customers also during the lower but yet attractive seasons.

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