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Tourism labor market impacts of national parks: the case of Swedish Lapland
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography. Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University.
Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography. (Arcum)
2014 (English)In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, ISSN 0044-3751, Vol. 58, no 2-3, p. 115-126Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a Nordic context, economic impacts of tourism in national parks remained largely unknowndue to lacking implementation of standardized comparative measurements. For this reason,we want to investigate the economic impacts of national parks in a peripheral Scandinavian contextby analyzing employment in tourism. Theoretically, the paper addresses the idea of nature protectionas a tool for regional development. The scientific literature suggests that nature can be considered acommodity that can be used for the production of tourism experiences in peripheries. In this contextnature protection is applied as a label for signifying attractive places for tourists leading to increasedtourist numbers and employment. This argument follows mainly North American experiences pointingat a positive impact of protected areas on regional development. Meanwhile European studies aremore skeptical regarding desired economic benefits. A major challenge is the assessment of tourism’seconomic impacts. This paper suggests an approach that reveals the impacts on the labor market.This is particularly applicable since data is readily available and, moreover from a public perspective,employment and tax incomes are of uppermost importance in order to sustain population figures andlocal demand for public services. At the same time accessibility and low visitor numbers form majorchallenges for tourism stakeholders and complicate the assessment of economic impacts throughquestionnaires and interviews. The paper shows that the assumption that nature protection promotespositive economic development through tourism is not applicable in a northern Swedish context.Hence, it rejects the often suggested positive relationship between nature protection and tourism labormarket development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bad Soden: Buchenverlag , 2014. Vol. 58, no 2-3, p. 115-126
Keywords [en]
protected areas, national parks, economic impact, nature-based tourism, labor markets, peripheral areas
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-91593ISI: 000340811900003Local ID: 881251OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-91593DiVA, id: diva2:737195
Projects
MISTRA Arctic FuturesMISTRA Arctic Sustainable Development
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchAvailable from: 2014-08-12 Created: 2014-08-12 Last updated: 2019-09-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Tourism Development in Resource Peripheries: conflicting and Unifying Spaces in Northern Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tourism Development in Resource Peripheries: conflicting and Unifying Spaces in Northern Sweden
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The northern Swedish inland is a sparsely populated area with a historical dependence upon natural-resource extraction. Therefore, this region has traditionally been defined as a resource periphery for extractive purposes. However, the rise of tourism challenges this narrative by producing a pleasure periphery for touristic purposes. A pleasure periphery in this context is linked to nature-based tourism that sells dreams of pristine nature and/or vast wilderness. This touristic “story” therefore becomes an antithesis to the region's industrial past. The overlapping touristic and extractive spaces, and their seemingly conflicting development narratives, constitute the theoretical approach to tourism development in the scope of this thesis. Further, this thesis adds to theorizing tourism development in northern peripheries, by contesting established development theories against each other in a northern Swedish setting. Multiple methods using both quantitative and qualitative data are used to answer the questions in this thesis.

Three conclusions can be derived based on the empirical findings. Firstly, established tourism development theories are at risk of being invalid in more peripheral settings. As an example, protected areas constitute a poor development strategy, and are not producing tourism employment as shown in studies from more densely populated regions. Other destination-development theories presupposing urban-like infrastructure, which is absent in peripheries, also become invalid. Secondly, conflicts between tourism and extractive industries do occur at the discursive level where they tend to be described in dualistic terms. However, in terms of labor-market processes, findings show that tourism and resource extraction are actually rather interrelated. Within mining tourism, such a related diversification occurs due to the spatial distribution of mining and tourism skills and the interaction between them. Thirdly, the location of tourism destinations is broadly governed by resource-extractive infrastructure. Therefore, tourism destinations are normally located in places that have previously been made accessible via investments in the resource-extractive sector. Hence, resource extraction projects (unintentionally) produce accessibility to the touristic “wilderness”.

In summary, resource extraction becomes a precondition for tourism development in northern Sweden, rather than a conflicting land-use competitor. Therefore, planners and decision makers should consider incorporating aspects of tourism in future plans for resource extraction as these industries often spatially overlap, intertwine, and consequently form a development symbiosis in northern resource peripheries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2019. p. 61
Series
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2019:3
Keywords
Tourism development, labor market transformation, related diversification, path dependence, resource periphery, pleasure periphery
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163522 (URN)978-91-7855-122-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-18, S Hörsal 205, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-27 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Byström, JoakimMüller, Dieter K.

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