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1 Ongoing Projects

Socially sustainable rural tourism

Recent Nordregio studies show that all Nordic countries aim for sustainable tourism development in their national strategies. Many ongoing Nordic tourism studies focus especially on economic and environmental aspects of sustainable tourism. This research however aims to look further into the concept of sustainable tourism development from a sociocultural perspective. The project will examine what the Nordic countries consider social and cultural effects in tourism development to be, and look into which possible indicators are used to measure the social dimension of sustainability in the ongoing quest of the Nordic countries for sustainable tourism development. This will include for example analysing tourism contributions and costs for regions and more rural areas, effects on employment, working conditions, provision of services, culture and arts, preservation of heritage, perception and preservation of nature, transport, housing and general tolerance towards tourism. This project will therefore produce a knowledge overview of how social and cultural aspects are considered in Nordic tourism development, both on a national level as well as regional and local levels. This will include a policy overview to pinpoint in which ways the social dimension of sustainable tourism development is being considered, and if and how, indicators are used to illustrate positive and negative impacts on the social and cultural dimensions of sustainable tourism. Also, how social and cultural identities are used to support sustainable tourism will be explored in the project. The in-depth qualitative part of the study would focus on social aspects of tourism such as the value creation of the tourism industry, the insecurity of the often very seasonality of tourism work, the role of tourism jobs as entry-level work and the lower-educated, employment of migrant workers in tourism-related industries and benefits and costs of tourism for societies beyond economic and environmental aspects.

Update of the VASAB-LTP for the Territorial Development of BSR

This project aims to update the strategy VASAB Long Term Perspective (LTP) for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region – BSR. The revision of this transnational strategic spatial planning document on territorial integration builds on relevant topics of existing VASAB LTP (1994, 2009) and will incorporate a future-oriented perspective. The revision will consider current and future trends that are likely to influence the territorial development of the macro-region. The update of the long-term vision is envisaged as an iterative and participatory process involving a wide range of relevant stakeholders. Together with Spatial Foresight, Nordregio will develop a background synthesis report that will cover the experience and lessons learned from the current VASAB long-term perspective; important trends shaping future developments in the Baltic Sea Region and key relevant policy documents to which the long-term perspective need to relate to. This report will be fundamental to guide the new spatial vision that will endeavour for a sustainable, inclusive and digital Baltic Sea Region in 2040.

Sustainable destinations and regional development

The project ’Sustainable destinations and regional development’ started in the fall of 2020 and will be finished before the end of 2021. It builds among other things on knowledge from a previous Nordregio project, Planning for sustainable tourism in the Nordic region. This new project will look into the possibilities of developing national indicators that measure sustainability in tourism development, looking closer at the social and environmental aspects of tourism in addition to the more conventional economic indicators. The project is led by CRT – Centre For Regional and Tourism Research in Bornholm Denmark – while other partners are Nordregio, Visit Denmark, selected Danish Destinations as well as SDU, the University of Southern Denmark. One of the main benefits of tourism in rural areas is the diversification of jobs as well as the fact that growth in tourism can have positive effects on other sectors. Therefore, many rural regions have welcomed tourism and put emphasis on increasing their visitor numbers to counterbalance the shrinking and more traditional prime industries as well as declining demographic development. Increased tourism can however also negatively affect the environment as well as social tolerance of the local population. Traditionally, the economic and social aspects are not included when measuring the impacts of tourism on regions.  Annual tourism reports are delivered by Visit Denmark in collaboration with the Center for Regional and Tourism Research each year, which contain figures for turnover, jobs, overnight stays and other mainly economic indicators of tourism development. The partner group behind the project now wants to investigate the possibility of how this tool can be utilized on the all three dimensions of sustainability; economic-, social- and environmental sustainability. This will be done with desktop research on existing sustainable tourism measurement tools and building upon the analyses of Nordregio that performed Pan-Nordic…

Defining Värmland

Collaborations between the hospitality industry and the food sector are beneficial for building an attractive region with a strong business community. The aim of the assignment “Defining Värmland” is to develop definitions for the tourism industry and the food sector in Vämland in a balanced and transparent way. By two workshops and data analyses, the definitions will be contextualised and anchored in the business life of the region. This will facilitate further dialogue and analyses of the synergies in business life in the region. In this project, Nordregio prepares a dialogue with regional actors about the hospitality industry and the food industry in Värmland, and formulates key issues that need to be discussed and clarified in the region to carry out the analysis. Based on these inputs from regional actors, Nordregio further performs data analysis and visualisation using registered labour market statistics.

Statistical report of Innlandet-Dalarna

Starting January 1st, 2020, Innlandet will be a new region consisting of two current ones – Hedmark and Oppland. The creation of the new territorial structure is a result of the regional reform in Norway. On behalf of the Hedmark-Dalarna Border Committee, Nordregio will carry on an analysis regarding the development within the two regions of Innlandet, Norway, and Dalarna, Sweden, that will also serve as material for a statistical report. The report will serve as a follow up for a similar report produced by Nordregio in 2013/2014 and will consist of an introductory chapter with basic short facts regarding the geography of the border region, followed by the four main themes of: Population Labour market and economy Quality of life and tourism Infrastructure and communication.

Rural tourism in the Nordic region

This project looks at the challenges facing the development of a more sustainable rural tourism in the Nordic regions. Sustainable tourism has been defined as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. The challenges of rural tourism include capacity constraints on capital and labour, natural and physical capital and strong seasonal differentiations that require considerations for optimal investments. The project looks more closely at how these challenge are met in various rural areas within the Nordic region. Building on previously built-up knowledge from the Nordic Arctic working group (2013-2016), we will firstly conduct a scoping analysis that will map where regional destination management plans are in progress, initiated or finalized. Secondly, we will conduct a Pan-Nordic development of national tourism satellite accounts to bring the accounts to regional level of analysis. Through case studies we will aim at investigating dynamics of local tourism innovation in order to see how tourism stakeholders including the local community benefit from tourism development. The following aspect will be considered throughout the project/cross cutting: Regional Planning Transport and maintenance and security (sea, air, land) Landownership / almannarätten Land-use (nature-culture collisions and/or symbiosis) The project “Rural tourism in the Nordic region” is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development.

Urban-rural flows of seasonal tourists – local planning challenges and strategies

In the Nordic region there are several locations that are attractive for seasonal tourism, such as the west coast of Denmark, parts of Iceland and Sweden in the summer, and ski-resorts in Norway, Finland and Sweden in the winter. They are attractive for residents in the bigger cities who rent or own cabins or houses in these regions, and who spend both shorter and longer periods there. Today, estimations for the Nordic countries shows that around half of the population have access to a second home and these are increasingly used year-round. This means that the small cities and villages are subject to urban-rural flows of people, people with similar needs and desires as the permanent residents, although they only stay for limited periods. This illustrates a planning challenge or even dilemma for these municipalities and regions. Tourism is an important source of income for cities and regions in the Nordics, but it demands high investments, and must trust mobile residents that are not necessary local tax payers. Still, for periods there are high demands for public transport, housing, care, commercial goods and services, culture etc. and for periods there can be very low demand. Reviewing the contemporary Nordic research on planning for second homes and seasonal tourism in the Nordic countries it is clear that the role of seasonal flows of people and the second-home phenomena is still not fully understood. Further research on multi-residentiality and the flows of people travelling to rural areas for leisure and recreation is needed. Therefore, in this study the focus is on seasonal tourism and second homes as a spatial planning challenge in the Nordic countries. The following research questions are investigated: What type of planning challenges can seasonal tourism cause? What strategies have Nordic municipalities implemented to handle these challenges? In what sense…

Business Financing in the Arctic

The way forward to crack the code to an efficient, well-coordinated business financing system, covering the Arctic as a whole. The purpose of this project is to enable the Arctic businesses to access potentials in commercial transportation opportunities in the Arctic, closer integration of the Arctic business community with the world market, easier access to natural resources, increase in tourism etc. Insufficient finance the missing link to business growth The Arctic regions contain many promising opportunities for development – culturally, demographically, commercially and economically. This project aims to support an economic growth that respects traditional values and environmental concerns to benefit all of the Arctic communities. The Artic regions have a lot in common but are also very different. First, they are all sparsely populated. This means that economies of scale are difficult to reach, adding transportation or communication costs the other costs of production. Second, even though the geographical extension is huge, total population sizes are small and divided between the different countries and regions. An analysis of business financing opportunities A growing business sector depends on many factors – sufficient demand, transportation and communication possibilities, technologies and competent labour. These factors are all recognized and analysed with the aim to understand how to overcome the barrier of lacking and insufficient business financing in the Arctic. In the field of financing, the central challenge is to develop well-functioning financial ecosystems. This will take some years, but some initiatives may be effectual already in the short run. We already know – from our work in many remote regions – that interregional and cross-border collaboration, pooling of resources and better coordination and targeting and finetuning of existing instruments towards the specific local and regional framework conditions can help improve and build up business culture and investments climate significantly. Key steps in…

PanBaltic SCOPE

The objective of the project is to contribute to more coherent maritime spatial planning (MSP) strategies in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) and to build lasting macro-regional mechanisms for cross-border MSP cooperation. To achieve the overall objective the project shall: – Build on the results and experiences from a series of MSP-related projects in the Baltic Sea Region, in particular the Baltic SCOPE project (2015-17), as well as on the national MSP processes; – Establish a Planning Forum for cross-border cooperation; – Facilitate and carry out concrete cross-border activities at different geographical levels in the Baltic Sea Region to meet the needs of the national MSP processes and to support the Member States in successfully implementing the MSP-directive; – Develop approaches and tools at pan-Baltic level to contribute to coherent MSP in the BSR. Coherence is achieved gradually, as countries are at different stages of MSP development and have different needs; – Support practical implementation of an ecosystem- based approach in MSP in the BSR; – Develop methods to build better marine spatial planning processes with land use spatial planning processes to emphasize the land-sea interactions influencing the development of the coastal areas as well as the status of the Baltic Sea; – Share best practices and build new knowledge to inform and support MSP in the BSR. Nordregio roles 1) As leader of Activity 1.1.5 Lessons Learned, Nordregio provides feedback on progress to planners throughout the lifetime of the project, and conducts an overall assessment oflessons learned: A Lessons Learned Report with the focus on a) solutions on improved cross-border cooperation, b) stakeholder mobilization and integration, c) advancing the implementation of the EBA, d) data sharing, e) Land-Sea Interaction; 2) Leading of WP 1.3. Integrating Land-Sea Interaction into MSP. This WP is to identify and practically work with important…

Compiling, processing, and visualising statistical data of 33 of the goals of Region Jämtland Härjedalen’s regional development strategy 2014-2030

The project aims at visualising and analysing 33 regional development goals of Region Jämtland Härjedalen, a county organisation located in the center of Sweden. In Sweden, each county organisation needs a development strategy for the region’s development. Region Jämtland Härjedalen’s strategy is called Jämtland Härjedalen 2030: Innovative and Attractive. Regional development strategy 2014-2030. It’s a programme with the aim of measuring the current developments of the county. The strategy consists of 36 quantitative, measurable goals within spheres such as of innovation, competence provision, resource efficiency, tourism, infrastructure, social inclusion and health, and demographic possibilities with 2030 as target year. Nordregio will compile and process statistical data of 33 out of the 36 goals of the strategy and produce maps, charts and tables. The current situation for Region Jämtland Härjedalen is to be visualised and compared to the developments in other Swedish regions (län) as well as to the national average. The historical development, in the form of time series from year 2000 up to today, will also be included in the visualisations. The study will thus present Region Jämtland Härjedalen’s current state of its regional development, as well as how the region is proceeding towards the 2030 targets. Nordregio has a long tradition of measuring and visualising regional development trends, the most recent one within a Nordic regional context being that on Värmlandsstrategin. Regarding regional territorial monitoring within a broader European framework, Nordregio has in recent years been involved in projects such as Upholding of the Baltic Sea Region – Territorial Monitoring System, ESPON BSR-TeMo, ESPON ITAN and ESPON ETMS. Further information: Regionala utvecklingsstrategin, Region Jämtland Härjedalen