The area of Bothnian Bay has a strong industrial history and its resources are favorable for cross-border business circumstances. The border at Tornio-Haparanda between Finland and Sweden has been a so-called soft border until the beginning of the pandemic. It has enabled composing not only social relations and a community cross-border but also flexible mobility of labor, goods and services cross-border.
The global pandemic and restrictions on mobility have had negative effects on the daily life of border communities. It has also weakened the dynamics of cross-border cooperation when people couldn’t meet each other.
In autumn 2021, the City of Oulu and BusinessOulu together with Finnish-Swedish Bothnian Arc association launched a project aimed at strengthening cooperation in the Bothnian Bay area entitled ”Borderless and sustainable future for the development zone of the Bothnian Arc”. This project aims to restart and activate a systematic, cross-border network after the pandemic.
Sustainable transport connections
Katja Koskinen, the network coordinator of the project, says that the project has two concrete themes in the Bothnian Bay area. The first one is sustainable, cross-border traffic, accessibility and functional transport connections in Bothnian Arc. Another theme is the development of tourism based on the maritime and northern nature of the Bothnian Bay.
According to Koskinen, the transport section aims to enhance and coordinate cross-border cooperation concerning transport systems. In addition, the aim is to promote logistical, sustainable transport solutions and to take into account transport and travel chains, as well as the needs of passenger and freight transport.
”Not forgetting the development of infrastructure and investments in the area,” Koskinen adds.
The aim is also to identify and promote development activities that can promote the utilisation of digitalisation in the logistics sector to achieve climate benefits.
Sustainable nature tourism
Project Manager Anna Meriruoho from BusinessOulu, who is leading the development of maritime and northern tourism, says that the project will develop sustainable local and nature tourism services and their accessibility through cross-border cooperation.
“We aim to promote the visibility of content that utilises coastal culture and cultural heritage in the tourism business. The aim is also to promote the development and visibility of our region as a single, cross-border tourist area the services of which can be easily found,” says Meriruoho.
The project will and can also identify and launch new cross-border development needs.
Borderless and sustainable future for the development zone of the Bothnian Arc
– The project is financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.
– The project is led by the City of Oulu and Business Oulu.
– Partners of the project are the Finnish-Swedish Bothnian Arc association, The Council of Oulu Region, Visit Oulu and Metsähallitus.
– The City of Oulu is a member of the Bothnian Arc Association.
– Follow the project on the Bothnian Arc website.