Many local destinations seek to innovate the tourism product by creating alliances between core tourism providers and producers of “signature” products. Signature products tell a story about the destination and help to create memorable experiences for the tourists. Signature products are for example food and drink items used in restaurants. Most signature products can be taken back as souvenirs and gifts.
The Danish Wadden Sea area is popular among German tourist who enjoy the human scale and the proximity to nature. For the local tourism business it is, however, a challenge to maintain a viable business over all seasons. Therefore, a collaborative network – VADEHAVSPRODUKTER – has been created in order to enhance the links between the producers and tourism. It is essential to ensure an efficient transfer of knowledge and inspiration. The members are all constantly – individually and in collaboration – looking out for local ingredients and resources which can be utilized for products with special local distinctions and appeal to the tourists.
One of the producers in the network is Mandø Soap. It is a very small scale producer of traditional soaps, which signals the visual and mental images of the marsh landscapes. Mandø is an island with an extensive sheep production, and a main ingredient in the soap is the tallow from the local sheep. Other ingredients are imported such as coconut oil, almond oil and natural scents. Due to the lack of artificial ingredients Mandø soaps are claimed to be beneficial for persons suffering from allergic reactions. This has, however, not been tested, documented or declared, although the recipes are based on well-known traditional soap production procedures. A main geographical “signature” ingredient is the lamb tallow. The owner, Lotte Stensig, is currently considering other local ingredients, but she finds that the extraction of for example fragrances from plants will require a larger production or a partnership with specialized suppliers.
The owner of the firm puts her products up for sale mainly in touristic craft shops, museum gift shops etc. It is very complex for a production orientated manager to undertake systematic sales activities, and only in collaboration with others it will be possible systematically to approach for example hotels, spa and wellness facilities.
More about Mandø Soap and the innovation potentials in the network on the VADEHAVSPRDODUKTER website (in Danish) www.vadehavsprodukter.dk