International Tourism as an Opportunity and Challenge for Business and Community in the North

This blog text is a summary of one the three Grennovation Camp keynote presentations. Dieter Müller from Umeå University presented an academic perspective on arctic tourism and its future by exploring current global trends which affect travel industry.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, globalization and an economic interest in the arctic resources, as well as, increased media attention were creating a large international appeal to experience the arctic. Travelling companies in the North had learned to utilize the increased international interest in their marketing. Tourism had also become a way of maintaining a certain service level in the rural areas.

The future of arctic tourism after the pandemic, however, seems yet uncertain. Due to global warming the snowy winter season – which has been the main attraction for tourists – is shortening. The general attitude towards international marketing and long-haul flights also seems to be turning more negative. In fact, deglobalization, first caused by the pandemic, may turn into a more permanent trend in the travelling industry as consumers begin to make choices more consciously.

This means that travel companies that are ready to engage in the green shift may find out that it becomes a considerable competition benefit both now and in the future. Another idea worth considering is to find possibilities for creating more flexible and diverse industrial structure where tourism no longer is the only source of income. Moreover, it is important to realize the potential for development in regional and domestic markets. After all, the largest group of travellers generally comes from within the country’s own borders.

Blog text by:
Henna Kukkonen, Lapland University of Applied Sciences