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Setting preferences of Arctic tourists: a study of some assumptions in the recreation opportunity spectrum framework from the Svalbard Archipelago

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The substantial growth of polar tourism creates new needs for land-use planning and recreation management. One possible avenue for planning in the high arctic islands of Svalbard involves using the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) - a framework for recreation management largely developed and applied within North American settings and management culture. The growing international interest in the use of the framework calls for further testing of the assumptions underlying the ROS concept in cultures outside North America. This study examines the perceptions of environmental setting attributes and dimensions among an international group of recreationists in a wilderness type of setting in the Norwegian Arctic. The study raises the question whether the users perceive the recreational setting as a multidimensional phenomenon and whether the setting dimensions identified are congruent with the physical, social and managerial dimensions commonly applied in the ROS framework. Seven dimensions of the recreational setting were identified and labelled naturalness, remoteness, observing traffic, culture, transport, huts and information. The setting dimensions to some extent reflect a ROS type structure, but the results indicate that a site-specific identification of perceived setting dimensions might be more useful for local planning.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 11, 1999

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