Aavameri offers various kinds of canoe trips and courses for both international and Finnish customers. There’s plenty to choose from, ranging from courses of just a few hours in length to almost week-long trips – regardless of age or previous canoeing experience.
Aavameri’s customers are many and varied, and come from far and wide. Many are German-speaking couples or families come for five-day canoeing trips and buy all the other services they need, such as transportation and accommodation, in the same package.
“If the customer arrives at the port or airport in Turku, we’ll be there to greet them with everything set for the trip. They don’t need to worry about anything, as we have it all covered. That way, they can just relax and enjoy things”, says Aavameri guide, instructor and owner Benjamin Donner.
Most customers discover Aavameri’s canoe tours through internet searches or the company’s own website. TripAdvisor, social media and various international marketing websites have brought customers from both Finland and abroad.
Customers who choose the several-day trips are usually more experienced nature-lovers who know a lot about canoeing. Those who prefer evening trips or day-long trips, on the other hand, are more likely to be adventurous types who are not as familiar with canoeing.
Aavameri’s excursions are closely in line with the emerging tourism trends of recent years. Rather than reclining on the beach with a cocktail in hand, more and more people are searching for more stimulating holiday experiences and want to avoid the traditional tourist draws.
“People are looking for authenticity and are eager to actually support the area they visit. Our customers want to get to know the local archipelago and meet the people living there”.
The Archipelago Sea is an exceptional hiking area that still has a lot of untapped potential for responsible tourism. Donner has noticed over the years that the open sea (which is the translation of the company’s name) is often the number one thing for Finns, whereas most foreign visitors just can’t resist the beautiful labyrinths that are formed by the thousands of islets. In planning canoeing excursions, Donner says, it’s essential to always consider the customer's perspective. How do they see the environment, and what exactly is likely to be most captivating for them?
“In terms of its uniqueness, our archipelago can perfectly well be compared to a North Pole expedition, or the Icelandic wilderness or the Grand Canyon. It is really unique for those who have never experienced something like this. This perspective should be highlighted, and that’s what we aim for in our marketing”.
In terms of its uniqueness, our archipelago can perfectly well be compared to a North Pole expedition, or the Icelandic wilderness or the Grand Canyon. It is really unique for those who have never experienced something like this.
By combining precise planning with principles of sustainable development, Aavameri has created an environmentally responsible and successful tourism concept. The company was awarded Visit Finland’s Authentic Experience Top Award 2018. The prize was awarded for Aavameri’s Hidden Gems of the Archipelago Sea tour, which is a three-day canoeing excursion in the Archipelago National Park. The company also received an honourable mention in the Sustainable Tourism category. The Visit Finland jury praised Aavameri as a company that invests in raising awareness of environmental issues, while also working with non-profit organisations and having prepared its own documented environmental programme.
“Sustainable development and eco-friendliness have a strong impact on every part of our business, all the way from procurement to route choices. Whether it’s canoes or knives and forks, we want all the products we use to be long-lasting and to place the smallest possible burden on the environment”.
Given the nature of the trips, a small amount of improvisation is to be expected from time to time, for example due to weather conditions. However, many surprises can be avoided with careful planning. For a canoeing trip to be an all-round success, there are a lot of details to be carefully planned and executed.
“We want to offer quality and fun service all the way through, including the guide work, meals and everything else. People looking for memorable experiences will find what they’re looking for with us”.
Aavameri has three guides, each of whom has a great passion for canoeing. Each trip is a unique experience.
“We do this because we love the sea and canoeing. It is important for us to do things with respect for the environment, and our customers appreciate and understand that. And it turned out that this responsible ethos was a bonus in marketing as well”.