University of Oulu

Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, Eva Kaján & Jarkko Saarinen (2017): Costs and benefits of environmental change: tourism industry’s responses in Arctic Finland, Tourism Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2017.1375973

Costs and benefits of environmental change : tourism industry's responses in Arctic Finland

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Author: Tervo-Kankare, Kaarina1; Kaján, Eeva1; Saarinen, Jarkko1,2
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-03-22


Recent research has focused on the impacts of environmental change to tourism. In particular, the perceived costs of climate change have been increasingly studied. However, the relationship between costs and benefits resulting from the changing environmental conditions for the industry has been less examined. This paper identifies the locally observed changes in the natural and socio-economic environments and aims to analyse the financial costs and benefits to tourism businesses in two tourism-dependent communities in northern Finland. The specific focus is on adaptation and adaptive management in a tourist destination scale. Adaption is understood as an investment creating not only implementation costs, but potentially also benefits for tourism operations. Research materials were collected among tourism and tourism-related businesses through 41 semi-structured thematic interviews. Results indicate that the evaluated benefits of environmental change seem to exceed those of costs. This conforms to the on-going discourse of climate change–tourism relations associated with the Arctic region where both awareness and vulnerability to change are considered relatively high but the level of responses, i.e. adaptation, low. These results can help to further identify the most vulnerable sectors in tourism and assist entrepreneurs preparing for environmental and climate change. However, the paper concludes that while global environmental change, with specific adaptive management strategies, may create local short-term direct benefits for the industry, a long-term sustainability of tourism in the Arctic calls for mitigation responses to climate change.

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Series: Tourism geographies. An international journal of tourism space, place and environment
ISSN: 1461-6688
ISSN-E: 1470-1340
ISSN-L: 1461-6688
Volume: 20
Issue: 1
Pages: 202 - 223
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2017.1375973
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
520 Other social sciences
616 Other humanities
Funding: Academy of Finland [FICCA: The CLICHE-project (Impacts of Climate Change on Arctic Environment, Ecosystem Services and Society)].
Copyright information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Tourism Geographies on 21 Sep 2017, available online: