Wilderness challenges for Arctic tourism - Don't ‘impair‘ the goose that lays the golden eggs!

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.5 Arctic tourism development: Prospects and challenges?
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Antje Neumann (University of Tilburg, Netherlands)
Abstract text

The importance of Arctic wilderness areas for tourism is already diversely addressed by academic literature. However, what are the specific wilderness qualities that matter in this context most? Is it just the quality of natural intactness or that of an absence of human infrastructure that are of relevance? What about the qualities of a certain size and the provision of solitude? Against this background, the contribution to this session seeks to elaborate specifically on the wilderness quality of solitude. Based on a PhD-research towards the relevance of the wilderness concept for regulating and managing tourist activities in Polar Regions, the relevant findings of the case studies conducted in the Hammastunturi Wilderness Reserve (Finland), the Archipelago of Svalbard (Norway) and the Denali National Park and Preserve (United States) will be used for this purpose. Since the main methodology of this research is a legal one (combining doctrinal with interdisciplinary research approaches), the presentation will mainly refer to the consideration of solitude within the relevant legal provisions, including those dealing with area protection and management as well as Environmental Impact Assessments. The preliminary results of the case studies prevail that the provision of solitude plays a significant role in the relevant domestic legislations as well as in related implementation practices – a role that tourism policies in the Arctic need to take into account. This applies in particular to tourism strategies of intensification, diversification and extension, which should be critically questioned towards their impacts on the wilderness quality of solitude.

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