Natural sustainability at Camp Ripan
The three different cultures that meet in the mining town Kiruna are a bright red thread at the family business Camp Ripan. Here, long-term sustainability thinking is as apparent as solid hosting.
Once upon a time, Camp Ripan consisted of a large campsite and simpler self-catering cottages. When the Lind family took over, the whole concept changed.
- We wanted to invest in international guests and develop experiences and activities in the local environment, not least in the winter, says Frida Lind-Oja, who after a generational change now together with her brother Dennis Lind owns and runs Camp Ripan.
Frida Lind-Oja, CEO and Dennis Lind, co-owner.
A plan was designed, where the three cultures of the area were put in focus. The Navvy culture, the Tornedal culture, and the Sápmi culture came to consistently characterize both design and materials used in Camp Ripan as well as the menu in the restaurant.
- We have 90 cottages, so it was pretty much to renovate, says Frida. We invested SEK 30 million in the facility and rebuilt the main building with reception, restaurant and conference room. Also, we built a northern lights room, converted to district heating and built a small house in the woods, our "breathing space" for culinary experiences. We were open during the entire renovation period, and it was a little crazy, of course, but it worked.
Last winter, Camp Ripan had guests from 73 different nations.
- The Northern Lights is by far the most significant reason to visit Camp Ripan, and of course outdoor experiences of various kinds, says Frida. These include snowmobiling, dog sledding, and Sámi activities. In addition to all outdoor activities, we built our Aurora Spa in 2013. It is our little gem that has become a brand in itself. Our spa concept is based on our three cultures and on what we have around us. Materials and products that breathe our everyday lives. All ingredients in the creams and oils from nature's own pantry, spa products are homemade, like coffee scrubs and birch scrub. We also use pellets from the iron mine for our foot bath.
Time never stands still at Camp Ripan and most imminent is a reconstruction of the restaurant kitchen. - It is difficult to get competent staff in the restaurant industry, so besides our rebuilding of the existing kitchen we will do a training kitchen too . We also look at how we can best recover the heat in the kitchen and how we should handle our own composting of food waste. It will be one of Sweden's most climate-smart kitchen.
Five quick questions:
What initiatives do you work with related to nature and culture?
- The last three years we have supported the national mountain fox project. In each cabin, there is a guest survey, and for each completed survey, we give five kronor to the mountain fox project. In the future, we will support Protect Our Winters, which aims to reduce human impact on the climate. We live on a fantastic planet, and we want to do everything we can to preserve it!
What made you want to become an eco-tourism entrepreneur?
- Given the industry, we are operating in, and what we sell, it is quite obvious. Our guests come to experience nature and culture, and then we must be able to deliver in a long-term sustainable way. We are also Swan-labeled. We cooperate a lot with other actors, and now we try to bring them on the Nature's Best train. A good thing about the certification is that you always have to update yourself, then it automatically becomes that you keep up.
What benefits do you get from being a quality labeled Nature's Best company?
- There is a need to think along those lines today. Nature's Best is good as policy documents and is also a marketing window that allows us to appear on a different platform. It is difficult to measure the pay-back in Nature's Best, but sustainability is a prerequisite for good business. They go hand in hand, there is absolutely no contradiction between them. Travelers today are becoming increasingly aware, so certification is clearly a competitive advantage.
Do you notice an increased demand for sustainable experiences?
- An increasing number of tour operators abroad demands more sustainable products.
Nature's Best contains six codes of conduct. How do you communicate these as added values to your guests?
- Above all, we highlight this on our website and in our marketing in general but also through our good hosting. Through our good hosting, we give the guest knowledge about our natural and cultural values. Through storytelling, we communicate and highlight different added value, for example, the locally produced and organic in our restaurant. We work with small groups in all our activities. It contributes to high quality and safety and an opportunity to see every guest.