University of Oulu

Demiroglu, O.C., Lundmark, L., Saarinen, J. and Müller, D.K. (2019), "The last resort? Ski tourism and climate change in Arctic Sweden", Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 91-101.

The last resort? : ski tourism and climate change in Arctic Sweden

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Author: Demiroglu, Osman Cenk1; Lundmark, Linda2; Saarinen, Jarkko3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Geography, Umeå universitet, Umea, Sweden
2Umeå universitet, Umea, Sweden
3Oulun yliopisto, Oulu, Finland
4University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-05-04


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the external and internal factors that support or challenge a possible transformation of Arctic Sweden into a major ski destination under a changing climate.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper questions future availability of the physical and the human factors that foster ski tourism development in Arctic Sweden and suggests a comparative case study in relation to the already existing large resort-based ski destinations in Arctic Finland.

Findings: Preliminary documentary analysis shows that the governmental and the industrial discourses over the past decade have acknowledged a competitive edge for Sweden and its northernmost regions in particular and may even propose a structural shift for ski tourism in the near future agenda. The visualisations based on natural snow projections presented in this paper confirm this comparative advantage but other technical and socioeconomic development factors are further discussed, in relation to Arctic Finland.

Research limitations/implications: Future research agenda is suggested to cover, first, assessment of natural and technical snow reliability of existing and all potential ski areas in Sweden and within its competitive set extending to all the Nordics and the Alps, then, incorporation of adaptive capacities of the suppliers but especially the likely substitution tendencies of the consumers, and finally, evaluation of the overall situation in terms of the regional development needs.

Social implications: It is apparent that land use conflicts will arise in case of large ski resort-based destination development in Arctic Sweden, especially around the environmentally protected areas, which are not only already important attractions for nature-based tourism but also traditional livelihoods for the Sami.

Originality/value: This is the first paper to discuss a potential regional and structural shift of ski tourism in Sweden.

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Series: Journal of tourism futures
ISSN: 2055-5911
ISSN-E: 2055-592X
ISSN-L: 2055-5911
Volume: 6
Issue: 1
Pages: 91 - 101
DOI: 10.1108/JTF-05-2019-0046
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
Funding: This viewpoint paper is part of the project Mobilising the Rural: Post-productivism and the New Economy (2011–72) supported by Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development Formas.
Copyright information: © Osman Cenk Demiroglu, Linda Lundmark, Jarkko Saarinen and Dieter K. Müller. Published in Journal of Tourism Futures. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at