PROJECT ST. OLAVSLEDEN – A PART OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Project owner: The project owner is the Municipality of Östersund. Co-participants include the Municipality of Sundsvall, Näringslivsbolaget i Sundsvall AB, and the municipalities of Ånge, Bräcke, Krokom and Åre.
  • Funding:Financed by the regional development fund in conjunction with the municipalities and regions located along the St. Olavsleden route.
  • Project period: 28 June 2019 – 31 March 2022
  • Main goals: As a collaborative effort, the project will create the right conditions for the growth, innovation and continuous competitive development of the private sector, both on the national and international markets.

Vibrant rural communities and regional development

The objective of the project “St Olavsleden – a part of regional development” is to strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of the region through regional cooperation that supports the development of small and medium-sized companies, and promotes vibrant rural communities. Additionally, the project will support the regional development strategies of Jämtland Härjedalen and Västernorrland, and preserve and develop the unique natural and cultural heritage as well as the attractiveness of the counties.

St Olavsleden currently passes through some areas that do not traditionally have any strong tourist attractions. This is where the project endeavours to support the development of tourism. By highlighting and promoting local not-for-profit involvement, we help ensure that natural and cultural heritage is preserved, and that the potential of the countryside is maximised.

This project is the backbone for the development of St Olavsleden and it is of major significance for a number of development projects that are based on St Olavsleden, such as Pilgrims utan gränser (Pilgrims without borders).

St Olavsleden as a component of private sector growth

The goal of the project is for local businesses to notice a major impact from St Olavsleden. Many businesses along the route already receive guests that hike the trail during the summer. However, through the project and with training and support we want to help businesses reach the next level. Primarily, the project aims to support cultural and creative companies by creating the conditions for cultural workers to live and operate both in cities and in the countryside. Furthermore, there is great potential for new companies to start up along the route, both accommodation providers and activity companies. This is promoted by the project and we work actively to support people who want to start a new business.

The project has a clear vision which involves every party in the project working to develop the local business environment in each municipality.

New destinations grow through marketing

St Olavsleden is a unique asset with great opportunities, but it takes time to develop a new destination.
Empirical studies show that it requires approximately seven years to achieve this, and taking former projects into account, we were already in the fourth year of development when we started this project. During the period of the project we will carry out aggressive marketing via the website and social media, and continue earlier successful media efforts. We want to put the region firmly on the international map through the St Olavsleden brand, and from a socio-economic perspective we want it to be a natural key component of regional and local tourism.

Focus on cooperation

In summary, during the course of this project we aim to build on the stable network of stakeholders and private individuals that believe in and want to invest in St Olavsleden. We will do this by continuing to develop that which is already good and also identifying new areas for development, to attract new target groups to the route and enable more companies to start up and grow, based on the potential of St Olavsleden.

One part of this effort will include establishing a regional business network which gathers entrepreneurial forces under a common brand and identifies, crystallises and boosts potential business opportunities linked to St Olavsleden. The relevant municipalities have a key role in this work.