Reviewing tourism and natural resource research in the Arctic: towards a local understanding of sustainable tourism in the case of South Greenland

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Tourism and natural resources are rapidly changing in the Arctic. Human activities and climate change are transforming natural landscapes and affecting populations of wildlife, while remote Arctic destinations that were previously regarded as inaccessible and unattractive are being engulfed by the global increase in tourism. In parallel with these developments, the concept and practice of “sustainable tourism” is gaining weight. Connecting these two trends raises multiple questions, including how tourism affects natural resources in the Arctic and whether sustainable Arctic tourism is possible. We conduct a systematic review of scientific publications connecting tourism and natural resources in the Arctic in order to shed light on the environmental dimensions of sustainable tourism. Based on our review, we highlight the multidirectional relationship between tourism and natural resources, and we use southern Greenland as a concrete example of an Arctic destination to which we tie our discussion of “sustainable tourism” in both theory and practice. We conclude that framing sustainable tourism as a relative and comparative concept specific to the time, place and type of tourism activity, rather than as a set of general and ideal criteria, might be more applicable and meaningful in research and as a development strategy for tourism destinations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeografisk Tidsskrift - Danish Journal of Geography
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • climate change, cruise tourism, greenland, local-global disconnection, natural resources, Sustainable tourism

ID: 257703672