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Nordic Talks: The rural way

When Covid-19 hit countries with lockdowns and foreign travel restrictions, rural areas suddenly got overwhelmed with visitors who overpowered the infrastructure. On the other side, people got more open-minded about rural living, more aware of the potential mental and physical health benefits, as well as more sustainable lifestyles. All these changes and benefits were discussed in the newest Nordic Talks podcast hosted by Nordregio, CoDel and the University of Limerick. Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio and head of the Nordic Thematic Group on Green Inclusive Rural Regional Development Anna Karlsdóttir, together with other researchers from Scotland and Ireland, shared her insights on how rural communities in the Nordics and around the world turned the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity. According to Karlsdóttir, rural and remote areas have received much more interest as touristic places which could be both advantages and disadvantages for the locals. “Sustainable tourism development needs to balance between being a good place to live for inhabitants and a good place to visit. It is hard to connect sustainable well-balanced community development with the well-being of the inhabitants along with the tourism development,” says the researcher. Speakers also discussed how we can develop thriving, but still sustainable rural areas over the coming decades. This Nordic Talks event was organized by the University of Limerick in Ireland, Nordregio in Sweden, and CoDel in the United Kingdom.

Rediscovering the assets of rural areas

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the public attitude toward the rural areas has significantly changed. Peripheries became a refuge for maintaining health, wellbeing, strengthening community ties and local economies. This was clearly highlighted by experts from the Nordic and North Atlantic research organisations in the Nordic Talks discussion hosted by Nordregio. The word “peripherality” is often associated with negative meanings, e.g. under-developed, slow, backward and remote. However, as the study “COVID-19 Economic Impacts & Recovery in the Northern Periphery & Arctic” suggests, the pandemic has challenged the way many see rural and peripheral regions and revealed peripheral factors that have been advantages in the crisis. Well-being and resilient places during the crisis “We have seen for the first time in many years that population is coming back to rural areas for a lot of different reasons. Covid-19 has accelerated that because of the huge amount of extra flexibility in terms of work practices – where people might live and work, how they can combine commuting and working from home,” says Liam Glynn, a practicing GP (community doctor) in an Irish village of just over 250 people, and also Professor of General Practice, School of Medicine at Limerick University, Ireland, and lead partner for the CovidWatch-EU-NPA project. Some factors that define peripherality, such as close-knit communities, adaptation to the challenges of remoteness and pluralistic life and work patterns, have helped peripheral communities to respond more effectively to Covid-19. As Liam Glynn pointed out during the discussion, this response had more positive effects on the health and local economies of rural areas than of many urban centres. Peripherality has demonstrated its resilience factor for local economies. Rural communities have noticed, that many are seeking to move to rural or remote areas as good places to live in. “Our research across the Nordic periphery…

Nordregio at the Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research

Nordregio Research Fellows Anna Karlsdóttir and Ágúst Bogason will participate in the 29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Called “Shaping mobile futures: Challenges and possibilities in precarious times’ this year’s conference focuses on finding ways out of the vicious circle of irresponsible production and consumption while also moving towards a more sustainable future for tourism. Finding tools and methods needed to manage this tourism in an ever-changing world is another main aim of the event.  The Nordregio Research Fellows will facilitate and lead several sessions, Anna Karlsdóttir being in charge of the ‘The importance of slow food and what it means for gastro tourism and slow travels’ session. Ágúst Bogason will present Nordregio’s and CRT’s research on Sustainable Tourism Planning at a session named “Methods measuring sustainability effects of tourism development for benefit of local communities and rural areas”.   “Few sectors have been impacted more by the ongoing pandemic than the tourism sector. International travel almost came to a full stop and the entire chain in the tourism sector has been affected. A few rural places have experienced their best seasons yet because of increased domestic travel during the pandemic, while the traditionally more visited destinations and regions have been hard hit. As the world is slowly opening up again, the question remains how tourism will develop in the coming years?” says Ágúst Bogason. According to the researcher, many people feel the longing to travel freely again, and all tourism-related businesses eagerly await the arrival of visitors. But going ‘back to normal’ is not an option from a climate perspective. There are, therefore, many challenges as well as opportunities for the tourism sector of tomorrow. And research on the subject must play a pivotal role for the tourism sector to develop more sustainably. During the conference, Nordregio’s partners at CRT (Centre for Regional…

Second-home population needs more attention in Nordic policy and spatial planning

About half the population of the Nordics has access to second-homes and use them during the summer or winter seasons and weekends. Regular retreats to rural areas by people from the towns and cities have an impact on small towns and municipalities. But it is lacking attention in policy and spatial planning. These and other issues facing small towns are analysed in a recently published book “The Routledge Handbook of Small Towns”. Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Dr. Elin Slätmo has contributed with a chapter about urban-rural integration through second-homes. The chapter ”Urban–Rural Linkages” is based on an analysis of Nordic statistics and qualitative fieldwork in five Nordic municipalities. It seeks to investigate if and how second homes and seasonal tourism are being embraced as part of the Nordic spatial planning and policy agenda. It also looks at the implications of second homes and seasonal tourism for urban–rural integration throughout the Nordic region. “There are several ongoing processes that enforce the urban-rural blurring when focusing on second homes in the Nordic countries. The dynamic between the urban and rural is continuously created by activities such as multilocality and mobility towards second homes,” says Dr. E. Slätmo. According to the researcher, it is crucial to actively include the second-home population into local policy and planning. Because these people are using infrastructure and services in the areas they inhabit, and they contribute to the local economy and social life in rural areas. But the variability of the population due to second-home usage or tourism is still largely ignored in policy and spatial planning in the Nordic countries. The book also addresses issues related to the development of small towns and their role for regional growth in different countries. Read the chapter here. The book is available here.

Why is Nordic co-operation struggling during the pandemic?

Insights on Covid-19 impacts from the perspectives of cross-border communities During Covid-19, free movement of people and services, and trade across borders has been drastically disrupted. Despite existing co-operation agreements, the Nordic countries took uncoordinated actions to protect themselves. Border closures have heavily affected lives in border communities. How could Nordic co-operation recover after the pandemic by integrating the resilience approach and focusing on cross-border communities? Nordregio – Nordic Institute for Regional Development – launches a report that gives an overview of the situation in Nordic border communities following border closures. Results point to the need for a quick recovery and re-engagement in the Nordic Vision 2030, which states that the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Fragility of border communities and Nordic co-operation Since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1954, long before the establishment of the Schengen Area, Nordic citizens could travel without passports and reside freely in any Nordic country. Virtually borderless societies established strong connections with neighbouring countries. This allowed people to easily access goods, services and larger labour markets across Nordic countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries took unilateral actions to protect themselves, moving away from the Nordic Vision. Since then, border closures inflicted significant social, economic and political impact on the border regions: ‘Hard‘ borders re-emerged and border guards were deployed to stop border crossings. Border closures separated families and friends, and disrupted access to work, education and basic services. The closed Svinesund bridge connecting Sweden and Norway and a fence erected in the middle of Victoria Square between Haparanda and Tornio (Sweden-Finland) created a shock reaction in the communities which haven‘t experienced anything like it since World War II. Great economic losses resulted from a sudden absence of border shoppers…

During 2017-2020, what did we learn about sustainable rural development?

Each Nordic country is different, but also similar. The similarities make it possible to learn from one another, and differences highlight the meaning and uniqueness of creative local solutions. Nordic cooperation is generally considered to be an extremely important asset when working with rural development. This storymap summarizes the work of the Nordic Thematic Group on Sustainable Rural Development 2017-2020 (TG1). What did we learn? VISIT STORYMAP

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Open call for picture submission

Help Nordregio to visualise life in the Nordic cross-border areas during COVID-19 Do you live in a Nordic cross-border area? Or have you visited any of these areas before or during the pandemic? Maybe you took a bunch of pictures there? The cross-border communities are facing many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closed borders. Life is not the same any more – many have had to change their daily life and work routines. Nordregio researchers are working on several projects in relation to this situation and you will hear about them very soon. To complement the studies and raise awareness about the current challenges, we would like to ask you to contribute with pictures from Nordic cross-border regions. Guidelines for submission: The submitted picture is made by the person who is submitting; One person can submit up to 5 pictures; The pictures are taken in cross-border areas in the Nordics; The caption describes the location, time and situation portrayed; If people are portrayed in the picture, and their face is recognizable, their signed consent to publish a picture should be provided; If people in the picture are under 18 years old, the parents’ signed consent to publish the picture should be provided; The pictures size is min 1 MB – max 16 MB; The picture formats are jpg, jpeg, png. Share your pictures by the 5th of March! The pictures will be used to illustrate Nordregio’s scientific publications and communications material related to the studies. The submissions are not subsidized but a clear reference to the author will be made. If you have any questions or concerns, please, contact vaida.razaityte@nordregio.org

Nordregio is hiring: Head of GIS Department

Nordregio is inviting applications for a senior position as Head of GIS Department. Working at Nordregio means an opportunity to become part of a truly international research environment with a focus on sustainable regional development in the Nordic region and beyond. It offers significant career development potential in terms of enhancing your competences through applied and policy relevant research, achieving an international network of contacts, as well as getting extensive experience in team and project management. You will also get rich opportunities to collaborate with regional and municipal stakeholders in the Nordic countries. Nordregio is currently seeking a new Head of GIS Department with: Expertise in GIS, geo-data, quantitative analysis, and applied research in the field of regional development. Experience in leading a team and managing projects as well as a successful track record in grant applications. Knowledge in geographies and socio-economic trends in the Nordic Region and beyond. A drive for working in teams and in an international applied research environment. Eagerness to present and disseminate results to different stakeholder groups, both orally and in written format. Competences and qualifications As Head of GIS Department, you both lead and manage the GIS-team by planning and organising tasks and activities, communicate with each team member and contribute to their development. You are also a project manager with responsibilities to attract, initiate and lead externally funded research and innovation projects. The geographic scope of your field of interest includes a European and international perspective and expert knowledge in at least one of the Nordic countries. We appreciate abilities in external networking and in communication with stakeholders. Internally we appreciate analytical and creative skills, complemented by abilities to both cooperate and work on your own. For this position, you have at least 6 years of relevant work experience and an extensive network…

18th February, 30min workshop with the Nordic Service Mapper

Join the Nordic Service Mapper workshop which will guide you on how to measure distances to different types of services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, libraries and schools, across the Nordic Region. Nordregio will host an English workshop on the 18th February for anyone who is interested. Sign up for a 30min digital demo here: https://www.lyyti.in/Nordic_Service_Mapper_workshop_7425 Visit Nordic Service Mapper First premiere was at the Swedish Reglab Pleis event 11 February: 11 February kl 13.15 ar Reglab Pleis, Lär pass 10: Nytt kartverktyg ger koll på serviceI samband med REGLAB [pleɪs] passar Nordregio på att lansera ett nytt online-baserat kartverktyg. Var med och testa funktionerna och diskutera hur din region jämför sig med andra. Med hjälp av verktyget blir det tydligt vilka delar av regionen som kan behöva nya lösningar för att förbättra tillgången till service – från apotek och bibliotek till skolor och mataffärer. Kanske är det närmare att åka till grannregionen eller över gränsen? Vi ser fram emot en interaktiv session där du kan ge oss värdefull feedback. Lärpasset har plats för max 100 deltagare. Först till kvarn gäller.Kartograf Oskar Penje och Mats Stjernberg, seniorforskare, Nordregio 11 February kl 14.00 at Reglab Pleis, lär pass 15: Turismens vägskälTurismen har påverkats starkt av Corona-pandemin men på olika sätt. Minskad turism har gett möjlighet till återhämtning i överexploaterade områden medan andra har behövt ändra strategi för att locka nya målgrupper. Hur ser vägvalen ut för framtiden? Kan vi öka turismen och samtidigt värna natur och klimat? Är nyckeln att uppmuntra turister att bete sig mer ansvarstagande? I en ny rapport visar Nordregio hur regional planering kan bidra till långsiktigt hållbar turism som ger intäkter lokalt utan att skada eller överutnyttja de lokala resurser den bygger på. Vi presenterar också nya metoder för att mäta ekonomiska effekter av turismen i BRP och…

Stronger cross-border cooperation after the pandemic

Cross-border activities came dramatically to a halt in the spring of 2020 as a result of measures adopted to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. The ability to work, socialise, do business and use services across borders is an integral part of daily life in border communities all across the Nordic countries and Europe. Since the pandemic hit, border communities have faced extraordinary challenges as national borders were suddenly closed and various other restrictions were put in place. These obstacles were at the centre of attention at an online event “Strengthening cross-border communities: Lessons from Covid-19” organised by Nordregio together with the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund cross-border committees on the 12th November 2020. By Páll Tómas Finnsson, Communications consultant at Finnsson & Co Increased awareness of the value of cross-border cooperation “In times of crisis, it’s always possible to find opportunities,” said Martin Guillermo Ramírez, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions. He gave a European perspective on the challenges facing border regions, not only because of the pandemic but also in light of political developments such as Brexit and the increasing nationalism throughout Europe. In his talk, Ramírez emphasised that the current challenges should be regarded as an opportunity to further boost cross-border collaboration in the future. “Many of the nation states in Europe decided to close their borders to contain the pandemic, but in some cases, they were reopened less than 24 hours later because of the high level of interaction in the border areas,” he explained. According to Ramírez, the situation has brought the importance of integrated border communities higher up on both the national and European agendas. “This represents an important turn of events, considering that we started the year with the announcement that there would be a budget reduction for cross-border cooperation in…

How do Sámi youth experience their education and job opportunities?

Sami language competence is a sought-after skill in the regional labour markets. Sami-related occupations can be found in traditional occupations such as reindeer husbandry and Sami handicrafts, but also in tourism and in creative industries. But are there enough Sami teachers? And how do Sami education institutions meet the labour market demands and opportunities? Nordregio has published a report on Sámi youth perceptions in English and Northern Sami as a part of the work of The Nordic Thematic Group on Sustainable Rural Development 2017-2020. The report is available both in English and Northern Sámi, see the links below. Nordregio hosted a webinar in early June based on the findings of this report together with Sami youth representatives Juhán Niila Stålka, board member of the youth association Sáminuorra, and Arla Magga, the Sami Parliament in Finland, author of a report on cross-border education and the coordinator of an ongoing project on remote Sami language education. In case you missed it, the recording is available here: https://nordregio.adobeconnect.com/p9yjila7h1ac/?proto=true

Webinar 9 June: Sami Youth – Access to education and labour markets

Sami language competence is a sought-after skill in the regional labour markets. Sami-related occupations can be found in traditional occupations such as reindeer husbandry and Sami handicrafts, but also in tourism and in creative industries. But are there enough Sami teachers? And how do Sami education institutions meet the labour market demands and opportunities? A new report from Nordregio investigates these questions and the results are discussed in a webinar 9 June at 3pm (CET) together with Sami youth representatives Juhán Niila Stålka, board member of the youth association Sáminuorra, and Arla Magga, the Sami Parliament in Finland, author of a report on cross-border education and the coordinator of an ongoing project on remote Sami language education. “We didn’t really learn anything about our own culture in school. I started learning about it at university. Now that I have the language, there is so much I can do, for example translations, interpretation, write education material. (…) I have a friend who teaches Sami language remotely while living abroad. Modern technology makes this possible.” (Youth, F, FI) Linnea Löfving from Nordregio together with Lise Smed Olsen from Oxford Research will present the results of the study which was commissioned by The Nordic Thematic Group on Sustainable Rural Development 2017-2020. The report will be available at the group’s website, see nordregioprojects.org/rural, as well as sent to all webinar participants middle of June. A link to the event will be sent to all participants a day before, but registration is needed here: https://www.lyyti.in/Samiwebinar

Cruise tourism in the Arctic: Local or global goals?

A new study compares two Arctic cruise destinations – Ísafjörður in Iceland, and Qaqortoq in Greenland – with a focus on how core stakeholders perceive the sustainability of cruise tourism and how power relations in the industrial development between place-bound local stakeholders and global cruise lines are played out? – We have seen unprecedented growth in cruise tourism in the last decade in many of the more remote Northern destinations in the Nordic countries – with both good and bad impacts. It sets pressure on environmental carrying capacity and social tolerance in smaller communities like Ísafjörður, Iceland and in South Greenland.  A sudden stop of traffic due to Covid-19 will enable decision-makers and stakeholders in the tourism industry to reconsider more sustainable ways of supporting the renaissance of shipborne tourism in the Arctic. The findings of this article may be helpful in paving that trajectory, says Senior Research Fellow Anna Karlsdóttir, who together with Laura James at Aalborg University and Lise Smed Olsen at Oxford Research published a paper Sustainability and cruise tourism in the arctic: stakeholder perspectives from Ísafjörður, Iceland and Qaqortoq, Greenland. Based on interviews with local stakeholders it seems that the development level of a destination and the relative importance of land-based tourism have an impact on how local actors rate sustainability issues. -The relative importance shows in Ísafjörður and the Westfjords, as there are an abundance of possibilities to develop soft adventure tourism like hiking, kayaking, slow tourism, agrotourism but due to the growth in cruise calls to the region the capacity has simply not been there. The cruise tourism crowds out other maybe more economically sustainable ways of developing tourism, Karlsdóttir explains. The study shows that there were differences in the emphasis placed on the environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects of sustainability in each destination, but also similarities in the perceived…

Small rural businesses taking the leap

How do small businesses adapt to the digital transformation? What are the strategies to overcome the digital divide? Nordregio has published a new report and a short policy brief together with illustrative online thematic stories to elaborate on the digital journey’s of small rural businesses, especially in tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy in the Nordic countries and Latvia. Digitalisation holds considerable potential for rural areas as it offers the promise of overcoming geographical distance, ensuring equal access to opportunity regardless of where people live. At the same time, rural and sparsely populated areas are thought to lag behind their urban counterparts when it comes to the provision of digital infrastructure and the development of digital knowledge and skills. These urban-rural disparities are often referred to as the digital divide and can prevent rural communities from unlocking the opportunities associated with digitalisation. Visit the publications and stories at the The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020 website

Welcome to spring webinars on rural digitalisation and attractiveness

This spring, Nordregio runs a series of webinars focusing on rural digitalisation and more specifically on manufacturing, tourism and bioeconomy. At the beginning of April, we shift to Rural Attractiveness: What makes some regions thrive and succeed when the general narrative on rural areas seems to be the opposite? Join to find out! Under the Events page, you will find more information and can sign up. Webinar series on digitalisation: 10, 17, 24 & 31th March: Digitalisation is often described as a global megatrend and is set to transform all elements of our economy, government and society. But what exactly does that mean at the local level? What are the implications for communities, businesses? What challenges are on the horizon? What are the opportunities and how can we make the most of these? And how should policy makers respond? Throughout March, Nordregio researchers will be joined by practitioners and experts in the field to explore these questions from a rural perspective. Read more and sign up A Webinar on Rural Attractiveness, 2nd April (POSTPONED, new date not set yet): What makes a rural region thrive? Nordregio has discovered 14 stories from the regions where population and employment rates are growing along with life satisfaction and pride to belong. The usual narrative on the rural regions tends to be the opposite. Join the webinar to hear from both the regions and researchers about what these municipalities and regions did differently.

Urban–rural flows from seasonal tourism and second homes: New report published

Estimations for the Nordic population is that half of the 27 million inhabitants have access to a holiday home, via ownership, family or friends. People use second homes during the summer or winter season and increasingly at weekends; therefore, our analyses find that a continuous counter-urbanisation process exists in the Nordic Region. We conclude that second homes and seasonal tourists are primarily considered a positive asset for job creation, planning of cultural activities and provision of services. At the same time, the central challenges are adapting the welfare system and services to these large flows of voluntary temporary inhabitants. This motivates us to recommend policymakers and decision-makers in the Nordic Region to discuss whether municipal income taxes should be shared between municipalities, based on the locations of the permanent home and the second home. The main rationale behind this recommendation is that the infrastructure and welfare system could then be better adapted to the actual number of people who spend time in each municipality and make use of the local welfare system. I hope the study will help to bridge the perceived divide between urban and rural areas, says Elin Slätmo. The publication is available through the link below.

Nordregio Forum 2019: Resilience – Do you bend, or do you break?

What is resilience and how to build resilient regions? The keynotes and regional representatives at the Nordregio Forum 2019 panel shared their recipes and skillsets on how to become resilient. Jonas Wendel, Chief of staff to the Secretary-General at the Nordic Council of Ministers, nicely summarises the concept: “Resilience is to welcome change. And for those who are capable of changing, opportunities will present themselves”. Nordregio’s Senior Research Fellow Jukka Teräs sees it as a way of recovering from disturbance: “Do you bend, or do you break?” Teräs also provided clear instructions on how to do it: Generate awareness of possible risks by identifying risks, spread the risk by diversifying the industrial base and invest in entrepreneurship and last but not least by building trust between citizens, regional institutions and other actors. Nordregio Forum panel opened the stage for great regional examples from all the Nordic countries which only proofs that the regions are already working on this actively, and they shared the same message: citizen engagement is the key for success. All partnerships are important, and as the youth representative Pétur Halldórsson, chair of the Icelandic Youth Environmentalist Association (Ungir umhverfissinnar), put it: “The best solutions are found when we work peer-to-peer with all cultures in the Nordic countries to actively learn from each other”.  The youth representatives also shared the same concern about the Nordics becoming too arrogant and thinking we know the best. “We should also stay humble and learn more from other (non-Nordic) countries”, says Ragnheiður Kristín Finnbogadóttir. Smart specialisation and resilience: Do they go hand in hand? Smart specialisation is a strategy tool made for regions to create resilience by finding strengths and focusing on those. “Smart specialisation is not the same everywhere. Actors can be the same, but the opportunities are different”, says Peter…

Green Infrastructure: a successful tool in strategic land use planning

The Nordic countries are known for their green cities, full of accessible green and blue spaces and surrounded by agricultural land, vast forests and lakes. Viewed in aggregate these green and blue areas are a network. A concept called Green Infrastructure has been developed to highlight the importance, development and planning of this network. The existing Nordic Green Infrastructure offers a wide variety of benefits to Nordic societies and inhabitants; to preserve biodiversity, to mitigate and adapt to climate change and to provide business opportunities. The use of urban parks for leisure, recreation or tourism have a clear, positive impact on people’s physical and mental health. Strategic planning is necessary to create a green infrastructure with more positive impacts than a number of scattered green objects. Despite of the increased awareness of the positive impacts of green spaces for people’s health and wellbeing, as well as for environment and climate, there is a clear need to strengthen its role in strategic planning. In this Policy Brief we identify how that can be done in the Nordic countries and also found interesting examples from Greater Copenhagen (DK) and Hämeenlinna (FI). This publication is part of the ESPON project GRETA – Green infrastructure: enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services for territorial development. More about ESPON GRETA

Seasonal tourists and second homes boost local economies, but challenge local service planning

Estimates show that about half of the population in the Nordic countries now have access to second homes. Along with a growing in-flux of tourists, this creates a significant but irregular flow of people from urban centers to small cities and rural areas that makes it increasingly difficult to plan and develop the appropriate services and facilities. Nordregio is currently researching the consequences of growing flows of people from urban to rural areas to assess the impact on small municipalities required to handle this influx. – On the one hand, tourists and second home owners bring in lots of new business, but on the other hand they do not pay any income tax and the often very significant seasonal change in residents pose huge challenges for local planning, says Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Elin Slätmo. Rural locations attractive for seasonal tourism include the coast line of Denmark and Finland in the summer as well as ski-resorts in Norway and Sweden in the winter. In Iceland, the tourism sector has boomed beyond seasons in the last decades. On top of this residents in the bigger cities increasingly rent or own cabins and second homes in rural areas all over the Nordic Region. Bring money but also challenges In Iceland, the rapidly growing tourism has turned into a year-round phenomenon, much of which is focused on a small part of South Iceland. – About 80% of the tourists in Iceland visit Gullfoss and Geysir in South Iceland. Occasionally they stop over here, as a lot of the summer house owners are renting out their houses, says Ása Valdís from the Grímsnes og Grafningshreppur municipality Tourism coupled with second home owners often become the backbone of the local economy, but also puts a strain local life. For periods of the year there is…

2019 Iceland leads the Nordics towards sustainable tourism, and use of seas by activating youth

Iceland took over the Presidency of Nordic Council of Ministers for 2019. Youth arise to the center of the chairmanship. A recent report by Nordregio reveals, that young people feel they don’t get their voices heard. Also, the youth have adapted to a new multilocational lifestyle where they live, work and study in different locations. -All the Nordic countries are facing similar challenges when it comes to young people’s standard of living, says Aðalsteinn Thorsteinsson, the Icelandic member of the Nordregio board. Steady growth in tourism without harming the nature, or small communities The ruthless, and bare nature of the North offers beauty and silence to a steadily growing flow of tourists. Investments on infrastructure have made the growth possible. How can nature protection and growth go hand in hand? Director of Icelandic Regional Development Institute, Aðalsteinn Thorsteinsson: – Our most valuable and most sought-after asset is of course our fragile nature, culture and history. Especially in many of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland, we have reached the carrying capacity of nature. It is important that we share our experiences, mistakes and success stories, so that the Nordic countries can learn from each other. Nordregio and The Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development have started a research project “Rural tourism in the Nordic region” that focuses particularly on the sustainability aspect. Sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. The challenges of rural tourism include capacity constraints: is there money and workforce available, and how to manage seasonal variations? This study will be finalized by the end of 2019 with answers to these questions. Youth in the Arctic – How do they see their future? Young people are losing their…