Metsähallitus’ activities support the development of regional tourism. In 2016, Laatumaa plot sales picked up with regard to plots for both holiday homes and businesses. This trend was particularly strong in the case of plots suitable for the hotel business in fell resorts in Lapland.
Holiday Club Resorts Oy is planning further investments in Saariselkä over the next five years. The aim is to increase accommodation capacity. Director Tapio Anttila praises Metsähallitus for understanding the company's business needs.
– In spring 2016, we signed land lease agreements with Laatumaa for the future construction of a complex of 80 new vacation homes in the area. In addition, a new destination in the Holiday Club chain, the Kelotähti built by Skanska, is also situated on a Metsähallitus plot, says Anttila.
Businesses specialising in tourist services such as snowmobile, reindeer and husky safaris are also investing in Saariselkä. Laatumaa has leased the plots as bases for programme services, for example.
Metsähallitus and the City of Kuusamo signed an agreement in October 2016 on the initiation of land use planning in eastern Ruka, in order to build another pedestrian village in the area. The common objective of the parties is to convert the current caravan site into an accommodation and commercial area and to modify the land use plan relating to the top of Saarua fell and the Masto parking area. The agreement involves a gondola connection between the Itäkylä growth area and Ruka village, as well as increasing the service range of the entire tourist area. The permitted building volume in the area will be 20,000-30,000 floor square metres, which equates to approximately 1,500 beds.
Ville Aho, CEO of Rukakeskus Ltd, is confident that Ruka will grow rapidly.
– Ruka is the leading ski resort in the domestic market and we are now aiming at growth in the international market too. The Itäkylä village, whose construction has been enabled by a gondola connection, will respond to such demand. Itäkylä and the gondola will also allow us to initiate major investments in the skiing slope area.
Photo: Jari Salonen