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Ranua the Cloudberry destination – brought to you by the locals in an application

Salla-Mari Koistinen (Ranua municipality, Finland)

 

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Ranua the Cloudberry destination – brought to you by the locals in an application
 
As a destination, Ranua is internationally known for polar bears of Ranua Wildlife Park and nationally for its cloudberries. The image of Ranua being the place for foraging is, however, becoming more and more recognized also among international travelers – thanks to Lonely Planet. This presentation will demonstrate how locals’ knowledge of cloudberries has evolved to a Ranua App for mobile devices and how locals participate in constructing the image of Ranua as the capital of cloudberries by posting on social media.
 
It is understandable that cloudberries are part of the culture of Ranua, as the land area is over 60 % of different types of mires. The image of cloudberry village has developed in over 40 years from the first Golden Cloudberry Fairs to the Ranua App and social media hype. About twentyfive years ago a printed map of cloudberry mires was made together with locals, and this year it was shared as Google Map and as the main motive to download Ranua App. The launch of the digital cloudberry map brought positive attention to us, and the app has been downloaded over 450 times in a few months, and in 17 different languages.
 
With locals sharing their berry photos on social media with #visitranua, the interest towards cloudberries has grown so big that we have been able to create safaris and other experiences based on foraging and cloudberries. In a year, the number of #visitranua-tagged photos on Instagram has increased from 700 to over 4000.
 
As a summary of the Ranua App and Ranua as the cloudberry capital of Finland, the first is that the image can be considered trustworthy as it is based on the knowledge of locals. Secondly, sharing their experiences of mires as points on digital map and as photos on social media, locals are taking part in welcoming the cloudberry travelers to Ranua.
 
Presenter short bio
 
Salla-Mari Koistinen works as a Head of Tourism and communications in the Ranua municipality. She has taken part in creating content for Visit Ranua. Koistinen is an administrator for Visit Ranua channels.
 
Presentation of the organisation
 
Ranua with its villages is a rural destination in Finnish Lapland. It is located close to the Arctic circle. There are a little under 4000 inhabitants in Ranua, and the average number of travellers is 150 000 a year. The number of tourists is an estimation based on companies’ statistics, event organizers’ newsletters and reservation data of the entrepreneurs. Ranua App is admined by Visit Ranua. Visit Ranua is a non-profit organization for the development of Ranua as a tourism destination. Tourist information is part of Visit Ranua, and the app is an important tool for guiding visitors to services.
 
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