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The diversity of polar tourism. Some challenges facing the industry in Rovaniemi, Finland

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Tourism in the Polar Regions is flourishing. Yet, because of a series of geographical and infrastructural barriers, tourism in the Polar and sub-Polar Region is a constant challenge for tourists and operators. Polar destinations also tend to be oriented toward one tourism season only with gaps between the peak and low seasons. While polar destinations are at differing stages of development, Rovaniemi - the capital of Finnish Lapland - stands out as a very important North European tourism centre. However, even with successful tourism operations (in terms of figures - economic and attendances), Rovaniemi still encounters many development challenges. Using previously published literature, field observation and semi-structured interviews with two of Rovaniemi's main operators, this articles aims at identifying and discussing some of the challenges facing the tourism industry in this locality. In the process, the article discusses the difficulty of naming this form of travel. Stressing that tourism in the Polar and sub-Polar Regions has up to now been mostly studied from a geographical perspective, the article emphasises the need for a complementary sociological approach to the study of tourism in the Polar Regions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Département d'Études Urbaines et Touristiques, École des Sciences de la Gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), C.P. 8888, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 2007


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