Q & A with Riitta Kiukas, Founder and CEO of Skafur-Tour, Helsinki, Finland
An independent fully-licensed inbound tour operator in Finland offering a wide range of partially self-guided tours for small groups and families.
HOW DOES SKAFUR-TOUR WORK AS AN ONLINE AGENCY?
Anyone can simply go to our website and see a wide variety of tour packages – we offer more than 100 various activities per season. These tours can appeal to both residents of Finland who wish to discover and try new activities in their own country and also to international travellers who would like to visit and experience the genuine Finland. We provide an easy-to-use search tool so that visitors to our site can look through different activities and find the tours that fit them the best. Once they have a tour in mind, they can then send us a booking request. Within one business day, we will send back a customized online offer. This offer can be approved, changed, or declined; it is only after the person submitting the request approves an offer does it become a binding order.
WHAT HAPPENS THEN?
The client receives vouchers with detailed information on what has been agreed to with the specific service providers in the destinations and their phone numbers. This way they will know who provides which service and which number to call – just in case any problems should pop up. In addition, a Skafur-Tour advisor is available for contact throughout the tour.
WHERE DO YOUR TRAVELERS COME FROM?
We get clients from around the world: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, USA, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. As mentioned before, we also have our domestic travellers within Finland.
WHAT SURPRISES NEW VISITORS ABOUT FINLAND?
DO YOU GET MANY FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN?
Yes. The parents say we make it easy for them - we give them a ready-made plan and do all the booking in advance on their behalf.
Yes, and each park has a unique look depending on its location. Examples would be Koli, Repovesi, and Linnansaari national parks. Some have large forested areas, high hills and expansive views from the top of the hills to the lakes and forests below. Typical activities are hiking, kayaking and mountain biking in summer and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. During the summer months, visitors can see more wildlife: birds, squirrels, rabbits, and elk. Travellers who like hiking, canoeing, fishing, and bird photography can enjoy our tour of Pyha Luosto National Park. Those who like sea and sailing or boating can choose one of our tours of the Archipelago National Park. We even offer wild food master classes in Pyha-Hakki National Park in which the travellers learn how to pick wild mushrooms, berries, and herbs and then use them in recipes.
The small-village cottages we book typically include separate bedrooms with linen and cleaning services. Cottages located in wilderness areas often have bunk beds or beds in open lofts; in some cases you might need a sleeping bag. Cottages and holiday apartments always have their own sauna and at minimum a kitchenette. On our website you can see pictures of each accommodation with related information explaining all the details and exceptions.
DO YOUR GUESTS BRING THEIR OWN GEAR FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES SUCH AS CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING?
Only our Finnish clients bring their own gear. International visitors usually rent gear from our suppliers. Winter clothing is also available if needed!
Our goal is to give visitors genuine experiences and real insights into Finland, and our extensive knowledge and life-long experience of travelling within our home country enables us to do this. We only make services available that have been audited by us. We are able to recommend the best time of year to visit any one destination. Clients mostly stay in small, family-run hotels and guesthouses, eat in local restaurants and use local transport and other services. During their tours, they can call upon the expertise of local guides as needed.
We emphasize services that minimize any ecological impact. We also respect the local people and cultures found in different regions of the country, and we educate our clients about them. You can read more about our Social Responsibility Strategy on our website.
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