In spite of the beautiful nature, life was austere and rigid, but the people were natural and pristine. The guests were welcomed without formalities and there were always the house’s best offerings on the table. Depending on the season, fresh fish, reindeer meet or berries were offered to the guests. The guests kept returning to the same houses, and with time the few households established their first regular client base. This custom has been kept up until today.
The years of war and the reconstruction interrupted the developing tourism in Äkäslompolo for years. After the war the first cottages were built and the house’s offspring began to build their own homes.
It was in the years of reconstruction, when famous Finnish guests lodged at the Keski-Kaulanen house. Repe Helismaa (singer-songwriter and actor) and Tapio Rautavaara (athlete, singer and actor) spent longer time periods at the house. During those stays the composed numerous songs, for example “Rakovalkea” and “Heipä Hei Hellurei mailman paras paikka kylä Äkäslompolo on” (The world’s best place is the village of Äkäslompolo).
The village of Äkäslompolo grew, and tourism became more and more important as a source of livelihood. A Shop was opened and more cottages were built. Stenan maja, Ylläskerho’s Röhkömukka and Tammitieva were built, and to this day, they represent what Äkäslompolo’s tourism was in the beginning.
Destination Lapland’s roots go back to the 1930s when the first Lapland visitors found their way to the village Äkäslompolo in the Ylläs area.
The founder’s grandparents, Fredrika and Tyyre Kaulanen, owned then the Keski-Kaulanen house on the bank of the Äkäslompolo lake, almost on the same spot as today’s Kaivohuone Restaurant.
At that time there were only a few households in Äkäslompolo. The tourists arrived in horse drawn carriages from Äkäsjokisuu. This mean of transportation, to and from Äkäslompolo, was up until the 1950s the most popular.
The visitor groups back then were called “skiing-courses”. The accommodation was very simple, but the magnificent nature made up for the lack of the traveller’s comfort. Seven wild fells, untouched wilderness and the natural lifestyle added up to an incomparable wholeness.
Just as in the other households in the village, the guests stayed in the same quarters as the house’s residents. There were no separate rooms, the resident’s and guest’s sleeping places were only separated by curtains. In the early days of tourism no money was asked form the guests, and if, it was a very nominal amount.
The Keski-Kaulanen offspring grew up and started their own families and established their own businesses: Jounin Kauppa and Marku’s and Senni’s Purola, today’s Yöpuu. Haapalan mökit evolveld from Lauri and Enni Haapala’s house. Destination Lapland’s founder’s Helvi-mother married Antti Kuru, and built the Peltola house.
The Peltola house was a lively place. In addition to the seven children there were cows, taxis and at best fifty guests, which were cared for by Helvi. Back then in the early 70s the young Peltola offspring established ties with tourists, and practiced their business skills: heating the sauna and taking care of the equipment in return for a little money. The warm relationships, with origins in their childhood, still bear fruits. The old contacts have been lasting up to the present days.
In the beginning of the 90s the younger generation took up the challenge and continued to run the business. A new era with new ideas. Development was fast. The company evolved from a one-man-show to an organisation which today cares for the well-being and satisfaction of thousands of guests arriving to Ylläs every year. It is our aspiration to keep up the same friendly atmosphere, as when the guest stepped over the threshold in the Keski-Kaulanen house: “Welcome tired traveller, make yourself at home.”