Project owner: Municipality of Östersund in Sweden and Nidaros Pilgrimsgård in Norway.
Collaborators in Sweden include the municipalities of Sundsvall, Ånge, Bräcke, Krokom and Åre, and Härnösand diocese, and in Norway collaborators include the Pilegrimssenter in Stiklestad, along with the municipalities of Trondheim, Verdal, Levanger, Stjørdal, Frosta, and Malvik.
Funding: European Regional Development Fund and Nordens Gröna bälte (The Nordic Green Belt) in cooperation with the above organisations.
Project period: 13/02/2023 – 12/02/2026
The project aspires to create a social border-region through shared cultural heritage and thereby develop St. Olavsleden as a powerful national and international travel destination. The measurable goal of the project is that 3,000 people will hike/cycle along the trail in summer 2025, creating around 45,000 overnight stays.
To succeed in achieving this goal, the project must generate growth by focusing on two target groups: business owners and visitors.
The businesses that provide accommodation, food, guiding and transport along the trail are important to the project. First, the project would like existing providers to grow and receive more visitors. Second, we aim to encourage more businesses to be part of the development. This will be achieved through training, networking and improvement of the physical trail and its accessibility.
Visitors from all over the world who want to hike, cycle and possibly ride horseback along St. Olavsleden support growth creation for these businesses. To get more visitors to choose St. Olavsleden as their destination, the project will focus on marketing and sales via trade fairs, tour operators, digital communication, travel journalist visits, digital maps and social media.
The interplay between these two target groups is incredibly important as developing St. Olavsleden can be viewed as a Catch 22 situation. If no hikers come, nobody will want to open a B&B, and if there are no B&Bs, nobody will want to come. That’s why we believe and are investing in both!
St. Olavsleden extends across two countries, Sweden and Norway. The trail is a cohesive product that has been jointly developed by the two countries and cannot be managed separately by the countries. Hikers and pilgrims view the trail as a hiking route where information, signposting and marketing should be recognisable and comparable along the entire trail. For this reason, the St. Olavsleden Project – hospitality through shared cultural heritage – is being run as an Interreg project.