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Weather is not a major barrier to tourism in high latitude regions

Evidence from a survey of international and Norwegian tourists north of the Arctic Circle shows that most visitors considered weather conditions during their stay to be fairly good and that weather aspects have relatively small behavioural impacts.

Hurtigruten in nice summer weather in Tromsø. Photo: Jens Kr. Steen Jacobsen

The tourists here have realistic images of destination weather. Most visitors follow their original plans in spite of various weather conditions and return intentions are not influenced by weather perceptions.

The study also shows that weather is not a major barrier to tourism in high latitude regions.

To some extent, the study belies the conclusions of some earlier expert-based publications, which have stated that summer weather conditions in many Northern European regions are ‘unfavourable’ for tourism. Results demonstrate that when evaluating weather with respect to suitability for tourism, one should take into account traveller motives and intentions in addition to aspects such as comfort or well-being.

The study was funded by the Research Council of Norway (Climate change and impacts in Norway – NORKLIMA). Project manager was Professor Jens Kr. Steen Jacobsen.

The Institute of Transport Economics has been the lead partner in the project ‘ACTOR – Arctic Climate Change, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation’. The other partners are CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, NIT Institute for Tourism Research and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

The ACTOR project is cross-disciplinary and nationally coordinated and focuses on tourism and outdoor recreation in Norway’s northern areas. Besides studying summer holidaymakers’ and industry representatives’ perceptions of weather conditions, the project has assessed aspects of vulnerability of the tourism industry to climate related risks and its adaptive capacity in the context of present and future climate change.

Jon Martin Denstadli,  Jens Kr. Steen Jacobsen and Martin Lohmann: Tourist perceptions of summer weather in Scandinavia. Annals of Tourism Research. Volume 38, Issue 3, July 2011, Pages 920–940




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