NS29 Session 23

29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research
Shaping mobile futures: Challenges and possibilities in precarious times

21-23 September 2021


HOME     Program     Keynote speakers     Important dates 

Sessions        Abstract submission 

PhD Seminar     Committees     Practical information     Contacts 



Title: Uncertain futures? From overtourism to re-starting tourism

Organisers: Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson, Outi Rantala, Dieter Müller, Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, Brynhild Granås, Pat Maher and Suzanne De la Barre

Affiliation: University of Iceland, University of Lapland, Umeå University, Univeristy of Oulu, UiT, Nipissing University, and Vancouver Island University



Tourism development in the Arctic and sub-Arctic region is uneven. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the beginning of 2020 many places in the region were struggling to attract tourists and build up viable businesses while others were experiencing a rapid and unsustainable growth in tourist arrivals. This was not the least the case with destinations that are well connected to the international system of tourism mobilities. The notion of overtourism captures the situation when tourism has grown out of proportion, either in terms of societal implications or natural impacts. It is the situation when tourism is not improving the quality of life for inhabitants but rather decreasing it and also when tourists are experiencing deteriorating service and a widening gap between what they pay for and what they get. While useful for underscoring the risks of uncontrolled growth, the concept of overtourism needs further scrutiny in order to play a significant role in discussion on responsible tourism development. With the current global halt of tourism due to COVID-19 the attention of researchers, policymakers and tourism entrepreneurs has swiftly moved away from overtourism towards the state of no-tourism and further how to re-start tourism in post-covid times. The aim of this session is to critically engage with the problematics of overtourism as a phenomenon and analytical concept in relation to the challenges involved in re-starting tourism. Potential issues and topics include:

  • Potential opportunities for enhancing responsible tourism development post-Covid
  • Overtourism in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions
  • Discourses of tourism development
  • Tourism policies for new beginnings and re-starting tourism
  • Lessons learnt from natural/environmental degradation for future planning/concepts/strategies?

This session is an outcome of a joint project within the Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme