Sustainable Tourism Development in the Nordic Arctic: Proceedings of 2019 Iceland Workshop

By Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes

Since 2018, Polar Research and Policy Initiative (PRPI) has joined forces with the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) to host a multi-year, cross-disciplinary international project on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Nordic Arctic, with the support of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Nordregio (Nordic Council of Ministers) and University of the Arctic (UArctic). The project also involves the active participation of a number of institutional partners across Europe and North America, including governments, tourism boards, tour operators, universities, think-tanks and foundations. 

The network’s aim is to investigate how to utilise existing human capital, natural resources (especially marine living resources) and infrastructure capacity to develop innovative sustainable tourism that can diversify and make Arctic economic development more resilient. This is to be achieved through three interrelated workshops in the Arctic regions of the Nordic countries. The first workshop was hosted in Northern Norway in April 2018, while the second workshop was held in Northern Iceland in March 2019. Iceland was selected as a workshop location for studying sustainable Arctic tourism and its challenges and solutions because it features a unique case of rapid tourism growth strongly supported by government initiatives, with challenges persisting for regulations and investments to follow the speed of tourism development as well as uneven distribution of resource flows. 

The workshop was held in Akureyri, Húsavík and Reykjavík from 18-22 March 2019, followed by a high-level dialogue hosted in the Alþingi – the Parliament of Iceland – and a networking reception hosted by the Ambassador of Canada to Iceland, Dr Anne-Tamara Lorre, at her residence in Reykjavík on the last day. The report below provides the aims, objectives and proceedings of the second workshop in Northern Iceland, while the short video offers a visual summary of the workshop. The report and the film will be launched formally at a dialogue on Sustainable Arctic Tourism and networking reception hosted by Polar Research and Policy Initiative and the University of Southern Denmark at the Embassy of Iceland in London on 26 June 2019. Watch the short film about the workshop here:




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