Tourists’ Affective Perceptions of a Cold Destination: Feelings Towards Northern Norway in the Winter


  • Bente Heimtun UiT The Arctic University of Norway


This article examines potential tourists’ interest in Northern Norway as a Subarctic winter destination. Specifically, it explores seasonal destination image constraints and drivers among national and international tourists visiting Norway in the summer. The aim was to qualitatively explore these tourists’ feelings towards the winter climate, winter landscapes, winter activities, and winter attractions. The study identified three affective images. First, among the “winter people,” the climatic conditions and opportunities evoked positive feelings towards the northern lights, coldness, darkness, snow, and remoteness. Second, the “summer people” reacted negatively towards Subarctic winter landscapes, which they found too cold, too dark, and too dangerous for travel. Third, the “ambivalent people” were both pleased and aroused by winter; at the same time, cold and darkness were not as exciting. These findings revealed that seasonality shapes affective destination images and that several perceptions of a tourist destination co-exist.

Author Biography

Bente Heimtun, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Associate Professor, Department of Tourism and Northern Studies




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