Tourists’ practices at Arctic Circle landmarks: an ethnographic approach – Case Rovaniemi

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.6 Tourism, mobilities and globalization in the Arctic
Datetime Sep 06, 2018 10:40 AM - 11:00 AM (UTC +3)
Location IT113
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Alix Varnajot
Author(s) Alix Varnajot (University of Oulu, Finland)
Abstract text

In recent years, the Arctic has attracted increasing economic and political interests. This includes the tourism industry, which is seen as having a good capacity to contribute to socio-economic development throughout the region. Although several borders can be used to define the spatial area of the Arctic, the Arctic Circle is often used as the main boundary in the tourism industry to delineate the Arctic, usually pictured as an untouched, pristine and hazardous region, from the usual or familiar civilized and ‘temperate’ zone. Crossing the Arctic Circle is also frequently celebrated in various forms and promoted as a formidable experience. This is especially the case in Rovaniemi, Finland, where different landmarks are used as a gateway to the Arctic and where tourists can directly engage with the border by taking the “walk across the line”. In Rovaniemi, the Arctic Circle landmarks are located in the midst of the Santa Claus Village, which is the main reason for many tourists to visit the city, guaranteeing abundant Arctic Circle crossings and potential tourists that are not aware of ‘officially’ entering the Arctic. This study aims at assessing tourists’ practices around two different Arctic Circle landmarks, both located in the Santa Claus Village. By studying what tourists are doing around these landmarks, it is expected to understand what role takes the Arctic Circle in their experience of the Arctic and if the Arctic Circle is perceived as a border of the Arctic from the tourists’ perspective.

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