Interview: Kent Lindval (Treehotel)
On our series of interviews with people dedicated to Sustainable Tourism, we speak to Kent Lindvall, co-owner and founder of the remarkable Treehotel in Harads, Sweden. Kent and his wife, Britta Jonsson-Lindvall , opened their eco-friendly hotel in 2010, and it’s now one of the most iconic hotels in Scandinavia offering incredible sustainable experiences for guests.
Bee + Hive: How did you come to open Treehotel?
Kent: My wife and I were born and grew up in Harads, Swedish Lapland, and had no plans to move. We have always been working to create a local non-profit project to develop this area to attract more people to come. Our idea has been that you can find most ground for development from the local people, nature, history and tradition: “Dig where you stand.” You can see Treehotel as a creative twist from this kind of thinking. An important part was also that we meet the right people to work with. The three architects we started with were my fishing friends.
Bee + Hive: What was the response from local community?
We got a good response and understanding of the unique concept when we first presented the idea in 2009 for people in the tourist branch and the local government. Some local people believed we were crazy and said it would not work. Today nearly all locals are proud of what we have in the village.
Bee + Hive: What is your favourite activity at Treehotel?
I like the ice dining in winter and fishing tours in summer. Ice dining, Northern Lights tours and dogsledding are also popular with our guests. We have just created a new activity “Tree dining”. We offer a three course dinner on a platform 10 meters up in a tree with a perfect view of the landscape.
Bee + Hive: What do your guests think of the experience? Are they inspired by your initiative?
Yes, many guests get inspired and I believe it gives them inspiration to create something unique themselves. It has inspired local people to start small companies, lodges and local activities to deliver their service to our guests. The whole tourist region Swedish Lapland and Visit Sweden are happy to have a unique selling point to talk about and the local people are proud to say they are from Harads where the Treehotel is.
Bee + Hive: Are you developing any more sustainable activities or rooms?
We’re working on a new sustainable project on the river below Treehotel: the Arctic bath floating hotel. Visit www.arcticbath.se to find out more. We plan to open next winter 2018.
Bee + Hive: What do you love most about running Treehotel?
To meet guests and see them happy.