Networking in Luleå 30.-31.3.2022

Together with Anne Rännäli-Kontturi and Anna Meriruoho, we visited Luleå to network and present the project on 30-31 March 2022. The aim of the trip was to identify partners for the project as well as its workshops, for both themes: maritime tourism and the transport theme.

On our way to Luleå, we met Jenna Laitinen and Anu Lakkala from the Two Countries, One Destination project in Haparanda, with whom we discussed the theme of maritime tourism in the ongoing project. We also discussed our common interests in the development of tourism at the area. From Luleå Business Region Rickard Lundmark and Kjell-Åke Johansson presented us with their activities. In addition to the project, we told about the discussions that have started between Luleå and Oulu in the framework of the city center development. Luleå's growth, new large investments and the availability of labour were a key theme of all meetings.  All the things that have been mentioned in advance contribute to the fact that the transport theme of the project is also very important and topical across the border. We also had the pleasure of visiting Luleå Town Hall to meet Annika Ohls and Anders Bylund from Samhällsutvecklingenheten. Nataliia Hammarberg as a representative of Bothnian Arc also attended the meeting. The common wish of all of us at the meeting was that we would be able to travel by train from Oulu to Luleå as early as 2025.

As part of the tourism theme of the project, we visited the Board meeting of Bottenvikens Skärgård. In addition to Anne, Bothnian Arc was represented by Nataliia Hammarberg and Tommy Nilsson. Nataliia presented the association's activities, after which I told about the project itself and its transport section. Anna presented the theme of maritime tourism and also presented concrete proposals for cooperation. We invited them to a counter-visit to Bothnian Arc's board meeting in June.

Mats Aspemo and Viktoria Mettävainio from Regionala kollektivtrafikmyndigheten i Norrbotten, told us about the activities of the RKM and Mats also agreed to join the steering group in the transport section of the project. At the end of our trip, we met Sabrinan Suikki from Handelskammare in Norrbotten, the first Finnish in Handelskammare's more than 100-year history. She said that the development of transport infrastructure is very important in view of the large investments to come.

The trip showed that the project is important, but above all it showed the importance of face-to-face meetings in the aftermath of the coronavirus in order to promote cooperation. Many thanks to everybody who we met during our trip, we really enjoyed our talks. We have already now received list of names who should be part of our project as stakeholders and partners.

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