Differing Discourses of Development in the Arctic: The Case of Nature-Based Tourism in Northern Norway


  • Helene Amundsen CICERO (Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research), Tromsø, Norway


Tourism is one of the pillars of the Norwegian national government’s regional development strategy for Northern Norway and the government sees tourism as a sector with significant potential for job creation and income. National level strategies are taken up by national public bodies, and some funding has been made available to follow up the recommendations of the strategy. This article presents the various discourses on regional and local tourism development in Northern Norway based on analyses of documents, tourism marketing material, and interviews. One of the national aims for tourism development is creating sustainable rural communities to turn the trend of negative population growth and challenges related to economic restructuring. Analyses of tourism development and activities in two municipalities in Northern Norway show the distance between the perceptions of different actors on different scales about the tourism industry today, and its potential and direction for development. The considerable focus at the national level to use tourism development as a tool to sustain communities across Norway is evident through their project of national tourism routes. The local tourism actors are objecting to not being able to define the product that they are providing. Furthermore, local actors strongly object in the instances where the nationally defined needs of tourism hinder industrial developments that would provide much needed income to the local economy. There are clear discrepancies between the way in which the local tourism operates and plans on developing, and the national strategies and promotion of the region.

Author Biography

Helene Amundsen, CICERO (Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research), Tromsø, Norway

Research Fellow/PhD Student






Special Collection Articles