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WHD Gård in Nurmaa by the lake
Woikoski Feeling and Sustainable Tourism Business
Woikoski Feeling offers high-class services and experiences in a unique environment in the middle of the Finnish wilderness. Located on the border between the Southern Savonia and Kymenlaakso regions, Woikoski Feeling sites offer a peaceful oasis for overnight stays, activities and enjoyment. In the following, we describe the robust quality assurance and development work behind this unique destination to ensure the continuous improvement and consistently high standard of its services.
Sustainability at the heart of all operations
The sustainability of Woikoski Feeling’s business is based on a number of aspects that guide its operations. The aim is for sustainability principles to permeate all the operations and services. The dedication of Woikoski Feeling is shown in its long traditions as the backbone of local social, economic and ecological development, recognised with several quality certificates awarded to the company.
Social, cultural and economic responsibility
Woikoski Feeling’s roots are deep in the sociocultural, economic development the Kymenlaakso and Southern Savonia regions. The estate, where WHD Gård – offering tourism and wellbeing services – is located, was originally established for this very purpose.
The estate has been in owned by Oy Woikoski Ab since the 1930s and has served as a model and research farm for the company. The development of new cultivation methods and technologies and cattle breeding were part of the corporate responsibility of large rural companies, and this obligation was taken very seriously. The model and research farm was established on the initiative of the owner of the Woikoski gas factory, who was keen to develop local agricultural production.
The same ethos of social responsibility continues to this day. The company offers jobs in hotel and catering as well as at the Equestrian Centre, employing local people both directly and as subcontractors. For example, the local adventure holiday business Seikkailuviikarit produces the church boat rowing and abseiling activities for Woikoski Feeling.
The Kirjokivi Manor in Kouvola also plays a crucial role in preserving the local cultural heritage. Standing by the Tihvetjärvi – the manor house from the late 1890s, designed by Eliel Saarinen for Rudolf Elfving, the founder of the Voikkaa paper mill – is an integral and invaluable part of the area’s cultural heritage. The manor, which for long was in poor condition, was sympathetically restored, and after extensive renovation work, the manor was reopened to guests in its former glory in 2013. Today, the restaurant and hotel services at the manor attract visitors from all over Finland.
The hotel and catering services are also run with sociocultural and economic responsibility in mind. The dishes served at the three Woikoski Feeling restaurants – Hilupilttuu, Juureskellari, and Kirjokivi Manor – are sourced from local producers whenever possible, ensuring the freshness, high-quality and locality of the ingredients. This approach supports local agriculture. Woikoski Feeling also grows a variety of produce, such as berries and fruits in its own orchards and greenhouses for the restaurants. The mission of the Equestrian Centre is to offer the best service available in Finland and to take the entire business sector forward.
Safety and security are an essential part of the company’s social responsibility. All activities and events are planned to be as safe as possible both for the guests and the staff. For this reason, extra care is taken to comply with all official regulations and standards.
Woikoski Feeling is located in the middle of stunningly beautiful Finnish wilderness. Preserving such an environment requires uncompromising ecological sustainability. Protecting biodiversity is at the heart of all the activities, as most of the services provided take place in the surrounding nature. Ecological sustainability is both an asset and lifeblood for the company – after all, the business model relies entirely on a well-protected, clean environment.
Woikoski Feeling actively participates in nature conservation and ecological responsibility in many different ways. One example is the Woikoski Feeling Nature Sanctuary, a 240-hectare nature reserve established in the north-western corner of the Repovesi National Park by Matalajärvi lake. In addition, in 2006, Oy Woikoski Ab founded the Dr Bertil Palmberg’s nature reserve, which covers some 50 hectares of conserved forest in the Repovesi region. Another 10-hectare small island in Repovesi is also in the process of preservation by Oy Woikoski Ab. In total, the protected areas cover some 300 hectares of forestland, which is approximately 10 percent of the total protected area in the Repovesi region.
The Woikoski Feeling area itself, including the WHD Gård estate and the Kirjokivi Manor, covers some 400 hectares of land within which most of the activities take place. The area boasts miles of natural trails and exercise paths, large hunting grounds, a frisbee golf course and off-roading tracks. Most of the activities are organised in the forest, and all Woikoski Feeling’s forests are PEFC certified. The PEFC is an international certification system that promotes ecologically, socially and economically sustainable forestry.
All aspects of ecological responsibility are aimed at the wellbeing of the local natural environment and wildlife. Within the conservation areas, the company aims to protect untouched nature. Any forest areas used for activities are used whilst taking great care not to cause excessive damage: the paths are regularly maintained and waste management services are well-organised.
All the factors described above form the principles and tools by which Woikoski Feeling continuously develops the sustainability of its business operations. The overall corporate responsibility and sustainability outcomes are monitored in a yearly in-house audit conducted by Oy Woikoski Ab and external audits by Kiwa Inspecta. We also audit all our external service providers annually.
As recognition of these measures and audits, Woikoski Feeling has ISO9001 and ISO14001 certifications attesting to the high standard of operations. The aim of the certificates is the continuous development, quality and uniformity of the company’s operations, customer satisfaction, and monitoring of the various environmental effects related to the business. With the ISO9001 certification, we have ensured that our products and services fulfil the needs of customers and different stakeholders alike. The ISO14001 certification ensures that our processes are continuously monitored and developed in respect of the essential environmental aspects.
Woikoski Feeling is also part of the Sustainable Travel Finland programme coordinated by Visit Finland which provides tourism businesses in Finland with a toolkit and models for sustainable tourism and continuous development. Find out more about Sustainable Travel Finland.
Aerial view of Kirjokivi manor