In times of global economic turmoil and climate change, we are in need of Skippers who can aid us in mapping a course for rural tourism development in an innovative, yet concrete and practical way. At NAF 2013, four Skippers with various experiences concerning the Rural North will sail us through ideas, strategies and opportunities that are ahead in the strive for sustainable rural tourism.  


Arvid Viken is professor in tourism at University of Tromsø where he is in charge of a Ph.D.-education in tourism. Viken has been an editor of sixbooks on tourism, and written a series of chapter and articles in journal and books within the field. In his research he has primarily addressed questions related to northern issues as indigenous tourism, tourism on Svalbard, and Arctic tourism in general. In recent years he has also had a focus on festivals, place and borders, and together with Torill Nyseth he edited a book called Place Reinvention (Ashgate 2009), and is currently working on a book called Grenseland (together with Bjarge Schwenke Fors).  Also currently, he is managing a project on tourism destination development in the Arctic, including cases on Iceland.


The growth paradigm in the tourism destination discourse - is this what a small enterprise industry needs?

This paper presents some major approaches to tourism destination analysis, focusing on their theoretical stance. It is argued that the growth paradigm is strong and present in most of these paradigms, being a more or less a naturalized perspective in the destination development literature, and thus having a hegemonic position. In the paper it is shown, through the application of a discourse analysis approach, how most scholars position themselves in relation to this paradigm, even those being positioned in an alternative theoretical tradition. The alternatives are to see destination development not only as economic process, but also as regional or community matters, focusing on participation, involvement or empowerment of local people, or on destination development policies based on values as sustainability or eco-centrism. The growth paradigm is based in a strong industrial tradition where big operations are the ideal, it is maintained, whereas the majority of tourism sector worldwide consists of small, local and family based enterprises. This reality, it is argued, is not reflected in the tourism development literature. The literature on tourism destination development, tend to present an image of a week or under-developed industry, because it in general deviates from the growth paradigm models. The paper argues that the tourism academics in the field should take on a more reflexive stance, and that there is a need for research and models in tourism destination theory not seeing the small enterprise structure as a deviance, but as a reality and often a necessity for a sustainable tourism development.     



Godfrey Baldacchino is Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair (Island Studies) at the University of Prince Edward Island; Visiting Professor at the University of Malta, Malta; Executive Editor of Island Studies Journal; and author/editor of various publications, including Extreme Tourism: Lessons from Cold Water Islands (Elsevier, 2006); and Global Tourism and Informal Labour Relations: The Small Scale Syndrome at Work(Mansell, 1997) . He is since 2010 Vice-President of the International Small Islands Studies Association.



Feeding the Rural Tourism Strategy: Food and Notions of Place and Identidy

Abstract: Food is undergoing a cultural renaissance: not only as a high art form for the savvy and literati, but as a marker of both exceptionality of, and connectivity between cultures and their places. A basic need for all living things, the act of eating has today become an affirmation of history and heritage, a nostalgic link with the past, a key medium for rich cultural encounters between hosts and guests, an opportunity for playful culinary experimentation, and an economic opportunity for peripheral regions. And amid all of this it is increasingly an intrinsic facet of power and privilege.

This skipper's address will chart the origins, and developments that have led to the book A Taste of Islands (2012), featuring sixty recipes, and the stories behind them, from sixty different islands around the world, and including various exemplars from the broad North Atlantic: Aland, Bornholm, Faroes, Great Britain, Greenland, Gotland, Guernsey, Iceland, Jersey, Little Cranberry Island, Magdalene Islands, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Oland, Saaremaa and Vega. Food encounters connect locals with visitors, with members of the diaspora and with absolute strangers; while lingering, rediscovered or invented recipes provide economic lifelines, and new markets, to local produce.


Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson is Assistant Professor at the University of Iceland. With a background in anthropology and human geography he studied the emergence of tourism economies through the approach of actor-network theory in his PhD work. His current research interests are in the area of entrepreneurship in tourism, tourism policy and destination development as well as research methodologies. He is a co-editor of Actor-Network Theory and Tourism: Ordering, materiality and multiplicity, recently published with Routledgeand has published his work in journals including Tourist Studies, Tourism Geographies, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism and Current Issues in Tourism.


Creative connections? Tourists, entrepreneurs and development

During the last three decades the role of culture has gained increasing significance in discussions among policy makers and academics alike, about competitiveness, innovation and economic development in general. A string of concepts have been produced to capture how culture affects the dynamics of economic processes. One of the most recent is creativity that has become tied to innovation and entrepreneurship and is increasingly being felt within tourism research. This connection is further bolstered in the wake of improved understanding of market trends and consumer behaviour characterized by demand for participation, co-creation and authentic experiences. In the case of tourism, this brings the connections between tourists and hosts to the fore. This paper sets out to explore the implications of creativity for rural tourism development. More specifically, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities that follow from thinking about tourism entrepreneurship in rural areas through the concept of creativity. I will argue, that tourist entrepreneurs, and not the least life style entrepreneurs in rural areas may provide valuable insights into the emergence and workings of creative tourism economies. The paper starts with a brief discussion of how the notion of the tourist is symbolic for the consumer society currently present in large parts of the world. Second, I will introduce the idea of creativity and its connections to economic dynamics such as innovation processes and entrepreneurship. The paper will then turn to a particular story of a life style entrepreneur in Iceland with a focus on how his connections with tourists play part in his business activities. I will conclude with discussion on the opportunities and challenges involved in rural tourism development seen through the lens of creativity. 


Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir is Director of Icelandic Tourism Board and former Chairman of the North Atlantic Tourism Association board (NATA).  Ólöf Ýrr  has a background in, biological sciences, Icelandic literature as well as public administration. She has experienced Icelandic tourism firsthand as a ranger and tour guide.  She is now in a leading role for Icelandic tourism in challenging and exciting times. Tourism arrivals to Iceland are growing exponentially but their distribution geographically and seasonally is still a challenge. Ólöf Ýrr has emphasised quality and enviromental sustainability in tourism and the need for viable rural tourism development year round. 



Notes from North Atlantic Islands -  Iceland with reference to Greenland and the Faroe Islands

In the past five years the Icelandic nation has had to face severe challenges , as an aftermath of the economic meltdown in Iceland in 2008. In addition, the 

Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in the spring of 2010 had widespread effects on transport and travel worldwide, and was a further challenge for the tourism industry in Iceland, highlighting the necessity of securing a professional, high quality service and activity based industry – and broadcasting that message to potential visitors.  

In the past two years, Iceland has experienced an unprecedented increase in visitor numbers, and tourism has placed itself firmly as one of the most important industries in the country.  Such sudden growth is, although indeed a positive state of affairs, not without its challenges, particularly within the fields of environmental issues, the supply and quality of services and pressures on infrastructure. The importance of tourism for rural economic and developmental issues is becoming more conspicuous and the importance of spreading the impact of tourism is being emphasized.

At the same time our closest neighbors are facing similar, and yet totally different challenges.  While quality and environment are of course of the utmost importance in both countries, The Faroe Islands and Greenland have yet to develop the tourism industry to the level of economic importance it enjoys in Iceland – and each country faces specific challenges of its own.

In my presentation I will share the story of Icelandic tourism in the past few years. I will focus both on the growth within the sector and measures taken to counteract possible negative effects of that growth in order to ensure innovative development, quality and sustainability. In particular, I will discuss these turbulent times from the perspective of rural tourism in Iceland. 


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