Photography and Northern Lights Tourism in Tromsø, Norway


  • Giovanna Bertella UiT The Arctic University of Norway


This study investigates the understanding and use of photography by destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and the tourism providers operating northern lights tours near the city of Tromsø, Norway. The aim is to identify the opportunities and challenges of photography’s role in creating the destination image and in creating favourable conditions for tourists’ memorable experiences. Secondary data were collected through consulting local newspapers and tourism marketing material, and from the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise’s database. Primary data were collected through interviews with managers of local DMOs and tourism providers, and through observations during two northern lights tours and a seminar for northern lights guides. The findings show that photography is understood as having the potential to contribute to the creation of favourable conditions for experience memorability. The findings also show that tourism actors consider the role of photography to be important for the development of a destination image based on the northern lights as an Arctic icon. This study concludes that the actual use of photography by northern lights tourism actors is limited due to some critical factors including the DMOs’ presence in the mediascape, and the tourism providers’ photography and training skills, local knowledge, and online activity. A graphical model illustrates these factors with respect to the different phases of the northern lights experience.

Author Biography

Giovanna Bertella, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Associate Professor, School of Business and Economics






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