Winter: New Turns in Arctic Winter Tourism

About the Project

Winter tourism in the North Norwegian counties of Finnmark and Troms is part of a growing Arctic tourism, itself a feature of the current remaking of the Arctic as a region. Among emerging winter tourism products are Northern Lights experiences, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and off-piste skiing as well as ‘winter versions’ of already well-established summer tourism products. Also part of this development are new festivals and events, providing the foundation for new products and rearticulation of winter destinations through story-telling and imagery. Overseas hotel visitors and winter cruise passenger numbers are increasing, as a result of complex processes, such as private and public regional stakeholders’ long-term commitment to fight seasonality tendencies.

This research seeks to understand the potential of winter tourism, drivers and barriers from different thematic angles, represented in four partly overlapping work packages:

  • Winter Tourism Activities: Soft and Hard Adventures (WP1)
  • Finnmarksløpet and the Iditarod of Alaska: Event Tourism (WP2)
  • Hurtigruten: Potentials and Barriers in Mass Tourism Developments (WP3)
  • Aurora Borealis: Tourism Performances and Symbolic Meanings (WP4)

Winter adventure tourism activities are connected to comprehensive and complex changes regarding technology, knowledge, risk assessment, and accessibility that shape the development of core products of Arctic winter tourism in this area. These changes open up new ways of experiencing the Arctic, and make the way for new types of tourists to the area, but also raise new challenges for the tourism industry. Europe’s longest dog sledge race, Finnmarksløpet, is the largest winter festival in the area in terms of people involved as participants and audience, and the national media exposure received. The Iditarod of Alaska, also a sled dog race, is Alaska’s best-known sporting event. These races constitute highly relevant cases for exploring issues of product developments and creation of symbolism in Arctic winter tourism. As one strong actor within tourism in North Norway, the question of how Hurtigruten (a combined cruise and local transport ship) spurs the recent growth in winter tourism in the region is particularly relevant. Similarly, the emergence of the Arctic winter light phenomenon (or Aurora Borealis), as perhaps the most important Arctic winter tourism product requires attention as it materialises a range of issues related to product development, story-telling and staging in the North.

Ansvarlig for siden: Bente Heimtun
Sist oppdatert: 19.03.2019 09:53