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Nordic tourism companies goes green(er)

Photo: Jørn Bang Andersen
  • Published 20/09/2011
  • Last updated 27/09/2011
To be inspired and to receive useful tools for developing green innovation. These are some of the reasons why XXLofoten and Tivoli have chosen to participate in an innovation programme launched by Nordic Innovation and OECD.

Business Model Innovation in the Tourism and Experience Industry (BMI Tourism and Experience) is a groundbreaking project on green innovation, initiated by Nordic Innovation and the OECD. The project will apply the Green Innovation Radar tool, developed by professor Mohanbir S Sawhney at Kellogg School of Management and assistant Professor Jiyao Chen at Oregon State University, to analyze innovation in the market sector.


- We hope to get some useful input and to be able to exchange experiences and ideas with the other participants, Frank Hagen, manager at XXLofoten, says.


XXLofoten is a small company arranging outdoor activities in Lofoten, located in the north of Norway. Innovation and development are important bricks in company’s business strategy. The concept is to create green events which let the customers enjoy the magnificent nature in a responsible manner.


- Nature is a commodity and must be treated with care. Many of our customers also want to be associated with green tourism, Frank Hagen says.


But in a place like Lofoten every once in a while the weather puts a stop to all outdoor activities. Instead of surrendering, XXLofoten has made it a part of the business concept. If the wind doesn’t allow fishing on a certain place, the boat, and the people in it, is simply being moved to another.


- Companies within the tourism and experience industry need to be creative. To become more innovative, we primarily look at other companies and what ideas they have come up with, especially in the south of Europe, Frank Hagen says.


At the moment, the main focus for XXLofoten is to expand the size of the events. With a capacity for 1,200 people, the company is ready to open its door for conventions and congresses.


- In the Nordic countries, this is something that mostly capitals and other big cities can offer. We hope that the innovation radar will help us to make certain practical and strategic decisions, Frank Hagen states.


Space for improvement

When XXLofoten has 6 full-time employees, Tivoli, in the heart of Copenhagen, has about 100 times as many during low-season. The size differs, but the ambition is the same.


- Sustainable development and innovation are key parts of our business strategy, Dorthe Weinkouff Barsøe, Vice President/Marketing at Tivoli, says.


Tivoli may be the only amusement park in the city of Copenhagen, but they face tough competition in many other areas, as for example music, food and well-being.


- We believe that many consumers choose their products based on the social responsibility of the company, and this is why it is important for us to be at the forefront in this field. Which we also are in many ways, for example considering our recycling system for plastic drinking glasses, but there is always space for improvement.


Dorthe Weinkouff Barsøe says that the innovative and curious company spirit of Tivoli is the reason to why they decided to join the BMI Tourism and Experience-programme. The company is in constant development, and to learn is a part of the process.


- Our CEO Lars Liebst is an extreme visionary, and his attitude has a great impact on the whole company. We do not have a lack of ideas; we constantly receive input from the employees, our partners and even from people on the street!  But we are always open to learning something new, and there will always be a method or a process that we have not tried yet – a tool that we can use to become even more innovative and develop even further.


Dorthe Weinkouff Barsøe hopes that Tivoli can be a source of inspiration for other companies within the tourism and experience industry.


- If Tivoli can invest in green innovation and show that it actually pays off, hopefully this can inspire other companies to take similar initiatives, she says.