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A PAIR OF POLAR BEARS AT RANUA ZOO GIVE BIRTH TO THE FIRST SURVIVING POLAR BEAR CUB BORN IN FINLAND Zoo officials say the cub, which was born on Friday the 18th of November, is growing and developing well. The cub weighed approximately half a kilogramme at birth. Now, at three months of age, it has grown to about six kilogrammes.

Successful polar bear births are extremely rare in captivity, with one third of newborn cubs failing to survive the critical first 24 hours. Half of all polar bear cubs born in captivity die before reaching the age of five days and the one-month survival rate is only 40%. Ranua Zoo officials have also confirmed the gender of the new cub. Cameras aimed at the polar bears’ nest indicate that the cub is male. Intendant Mari Heikkilä from Ranua Zoo says zoo officials have not yet had the opportunity to conduct a physical examination of the cub. For safety reasons, the zoo’s medical staff will not ap-

proach the nest while mother Venus is there. “We won’t even try to examine the cub until March. Separating the mother from the cub could lead to the cub wanting to follow the mother outside,” Heikkilä explains. The cub is still too young to experience the world outside the nest. In March, depending on weather conditions, the cub may be able to take its first steps outside. However, the deep snow may present challenges to a little polar bear cub. “Maybe one of the zookeepers can beat a path for the cub through the snow,” says Mari Heikkilä with a laugh. YLE Lapland

ROVANIEMI RANKED AMONG THE WORLD’S TOP CHRISTMAS DESTINATIONS Forbes, Reader’s Digest and Asia Tatler recently ranked Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle near the top of their lists of the world’s best Christmas destinations.

The US-based business publication Forbes published its list last week. Santa Claus Village and Santa Park at the Arctic Circle were mentioned alongside New York, Cologne and Aspen as destinations for a unique Christmas experience. Reader’s Digest enthusiastically stated that the fairy-tale Christmas atmosphere in Rovaniemi is hard to beat and highlighted Santa Claus Village along with the snowy white winter experience complete with reindeer and huskies. The Asian edition of the luxury dining, travel and fashion publication Tatler ranked Rovaniemi among the world’s top four Christmas destinations in its latest issue. YLE Lapland

HIGH-RISE SPA AND CONFERENCE HOTEL BEING BUILT IN ROVANIEMI’S CITY CENTRE A new 12-storey spa and conference hotel is currently under construction in the very heart of Rovaniemi. The new building is an expansion to Hotel Santa Claus, which is aiming to become a major conference and spa hotel in Rovaniemi. The new high-rise will be connected to the existing Hotel Santa Claus building by a covered, elevated walkway wide enough for a small café.

The rooftop will feature 45 unique “igloos”, or panoramic glass-encased rooms, that will glow in the winter sky like ice lanterns. The Hotel Santa Claus expansion will have a total of 251 rooms, 34 of which will be larger family rooms. The new building’s threelevel underground car park will be accessible from Valtakatu.

NEARLY HALF A MILLION REGISTERED HOTEL GUEST NIGHTS IN ROVANIEMI Statistics indicate that 2011 was a strong year for Rovaniemi’s tourism industry. With an increase in registered hotel guest nights of over 5%, Rovaniemi’s growth exceeded the Lapland and national averages. “Rovaniemi is fast approaching the milestone of half a million registered hotel guest nights. Last year we fell short by only 7,500 hotel guest nights and I am confident that we will break that barrier in 2012, says Tu-

ula Rintala-Gardin,” Head of Tourism at the City of Rovaniemi. Rovaniemi’s tourism growth was primarily achieved in the international markets, with an increase of over 11% in registered hotel guest nights by international visitors. Domestic visitor numbers, in terms of hotel guest nights, were down by approximately 1%. Rovaniemi continues to have a strong position in the eyes of international tourists. The

city ranks second to only Helsinki in registered hotel guest nights by international visitors in Finland. Hotel guest nights by Russian, German and Italian tourists increased the most, while figures for British and Dutch visitors decreased somewhat.


Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio, the company behind the hit game Angry Birds, made the partnership with the Rovaniemibased manufacturer public in Tokyo in December 2011. Under the agreement between Lappset and Rovio, Lappset Group Ltd will design and manufacture playground and sports equipment inspired by characters from the Angry Birds games, as well as entire pre-designed activity parks. Vesterbacka says negotiations are already underway for dozens of Angry Birds playgrounds. The range of playground equipment designed by Lappset comprises several sets of different products including spring riders, swings, sandboxes and various climbing

frames with slides. The popular characters from the mobile games feature prominently on the playground equipment, with colours also reflecting the Angry Birds theme. Rovio’s Angry Birds game has been downloaded over 600 million times around the world.

ROVANIEMI CREATES A CLIMATE GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS The City of Rovaniemi has printed a climate guide for residents. The guide provides information on how everyone can contribute to the fight against climate change by making small changes in daily life. “No one can save the world on their own, but we can all make a small personal contribution to mitigating climate change. Such changes also have other functional or economic benefits,” says Erkki Lehtoniemi, Head of Environmental Supervision at the City of Rovaniemi. In addition to improving climate awareness in general, the guide features a number of tips for slowing down climate change while also gaining concrete personal benefits.

“The guide’s tips on food choices are a good example of the win-win approach. Making the right choices when it comes to food can benefit both the environment and the person making the changes directly. The recommended choices are not only good for the climate, but also for the waistline and wallet.” The climate guide for residents of Rovaniemi is hot off the press, with the first print run completed last Friday. Rovaniemi residents can get their hands on one of the 2,000 copies at the Osviitta Service Centre at City Hall and local libraries.

THE UNIVERSITY OF LAPLAND NEARLY ACHIEVES ITS GRADUATE TARGETS The University of Lapland performed well in terms of its targets for higher university degree graduates in 2011 and placed fifth in a related national ranking of universities.

The number of higher university graduates produced by the University of Lapland was 94% of the target set for 2011. The target was 440 Master’s Degree graduates and preliminary data suggests the actual number achieved was 414. The number of Master’s Degree graduates increased by 15% from 2010. With 94% of its target achieved, the University of Lapland placed fifth in a national ranking of universities. The only universities ranked above the University of Lapland were the Academy of Fine Arts (147%), Hanken School of Economics (96%), Sibelius Academy (96%) and Theatre Academy Helsinki (95%). For doctoral degrees, the University of Lapland achieved 96% of its target number of graduates. The target was 24 doctoral graduates and the university produced 23. This represents a decrease of one graduate compared to the previous year. The University of Lapland achieved a mid-table position in the national ranking of universities based on their achievement of the target level of doctoral graduates.

OUTSOURCED SERVICES WORKING WELL IN ROVANIEMI Rovaniemi’s experiences of outsourcing emergency medical care and a health centre team have been positive. A new study suggests that the care guarantee has been fulfilled by the outsourced Uittotiimi health centre team and customer satisfaction levels are on par with those of the municipal health centre’s own teams. Outsourcing has also freed up resources, namely doctors, in the city’s own teams. Patient visits to emergency medical care at Lapland Central Hospital actually decreased during the contract period, as the teams were able to handle a larger number of urgent cases. Rovaniemi outsourced the services to Attendo Oy three years ago and the contract will expire at the end of this year. Chief Physician Markku Oinaala recommends to the Basic Welfare Committee that outsourcing be continued and that the city initiate competitive bidding for a new contract period. YLE Lapland


kuva: Arto Liiti

The three-year Chain of Culture development project between cultural attractions in Helsinki, Mänttä, Turku and Rovaniemi has advanced cultural tourism in Rovaniemi in leaps and bounds. The project was concluded in late 2011. Customer satisfaction levels in Rovaniemi, measured as part of the project, increased considerably despite starting from a high level. “We are pleased to have succeeded in developing Arktikum and Korundi into attractions that have been rated very highly by visitors. We have been particularly successful in taking

children and young visitors into consideration, thereby addressing a relative weakness identified in the initial surveys at the outset of the project. The latest surveys indicate that the attractions have achieved a marked improvement in their services for children and young visitors. Customers also praised the level of service at the attractions,” says Päivi Heikkala, Managing Director of Arktikum Service. Cultural tourism presents a wealth of opportunities for the future. According to Sanna Kortelainen, Managing Director of Rovaniemi Tourism & Marketing, independent tourists

travelling on their own are an increasingly important market segment and they must be targeted through methods such as online advertising and communications. Cultural tourism content can be used to define Rovaniemi’s profile as a travel destination and boost the city’s competitiveness and appeal.

ROVANIEMI AIMING TO BECOME A CITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL ART The City of Rovaniemi is aiming to become famous for environmental art. The annual environmental art competition organised by the Rovaniemi Board of Culture is one aspect of this effort. This year’s edition of the competition is currently underway. The locations are two roundabouts in Saarenkylä, one on Pulkamontie and the other on Ritarinne. The competition is also open to students. The Board of Culture will award the two win-

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF LAPLAND AT KORUNDI Rovaniemi Art Museum in Korundi House of Culture is hosting an exhibition of the magic of Lapland from 10 February to 13 May 2012. Produced by Ateneum, the exhibition presents images of Lapland in Finnish art. The featured works depict Finnish Lapland, were inspired by it or have Lapland and the region’s culture as their subjects. The artists whose works are on display include many who were born and spent their lives in Lapland as well as some who moved south from Lapland or to Lapland from the south. There are even works from artists who have never visited the north. The exhibition features paintings, graphical works, sculptures and photographs by some 40 artists dating from the early 19th century to the present day.

ners with a prize of 4,000 euros each. City of Rovaniemi Technical Services has allocated 10,000 euros (VAT 0%) per design for the implementation of the two winning works. The competition committee reserves the right to distribute the prize money in an alternative manner or refrain from awarding the prize money if none of the submitted designs are considered feasible for implementation.

CONTINUED COOPERATION WITH UNICEF The City of Rovaniemi is continuing to cooperate with UNICEF after a successful partnership between the city and UNICEF in 2010. The cooperation between Rovaniemi and UNICEF comes naturally, as Rovaniemi has received assistance from UNICEF in the past. The latest campaign between Rovaniemi and UNICEF will involve the City of Rovaniemi donating the amount of EUR 0.10 per resident to UNICEF annually for at least two years. The funds will be used for UNICEF’s emergency aid operations. There are also plans to extend the campaign to involve cooperation with Rovaniemi-based businesses. The cooperation is part of the City of Rovaniemi’s Christmas brand building, with Santa Claus as the figurehead. UNICEF is particularly well suited for partnership with

Rovaniemi as the organisation shares many values with Santa Claus. The first donation was made to UNICEF in conjunction with the Christmas season opening festivities at the Arctic Circle. Santa Claus and representatives of Rovaniemi Youth Council together handed a cheque for 6,009 euros to Marja-Riitta Ketola, General Secretary of UNICEF Finland.

Rovaniemi Tourist Information Maakuntakatu 29-31 FI-96200 Rovaniemi Tel. +358-(0)16-346 270

Rovaniemi Regional Development Agency Ainonkatu 1 FI-96200 Rovaniemi Exchange +358 20 152 5000 Fax +358 16 347 351

Rovaniemi City News 1/2012