Thematic Network on Northern Tourism


The network will work to address gaps in knowledge about northern tourism through comparative, circumpolar research. Such research will expand our understanding of tourism issues with particular relevance for current challenges and future needs. Data will contribute to community needs as well as courses taught at a variety of post-secondary levels, and the wider academic tourism literature.

The network will use a variety of methods to disseminate knowledge, including conferences, publications, community meetings and student study materials. The network aims to undertake research and education which:

  • Is interdisciplinary
  • Is circumpolar
  • Is relevant to northerners and northern communities
  • Reflects local knowledge
  • Is collaborative
  • Builds on our strengths to provide innovative outcomes
  • Empowers though education.

The network is always in search of additional partners within academic, community, and government realms.

The network also seeks to work collaboratively with other University of the Arctic thematic networks, such as Arctic Safety and Security, and Northern Food Security, who deal with related topics. The network is also closely aligned to external networks such as the International Polar Tourism Research Network (IPTRN).


Since 2015 we have continuously run a field school and two online courses across seven partner institutions. This program was initially funded by SIU (DIKU) and hosted by UiT. The three courses are now hosted by three single institutions with instructor and examiner teams made up of faculty from each of the seven partners. The field course, Northern Tourism in Practice, is now hosted by the University of Lapland. The two online courses, Sustainable Development in Northern Environments and Northern Tourist, Northern Hosts, are hosted by the University of Oulu and University of Iceland, respectively. The number of students who have completed at least one course is 192, and the number who have now completed the whole certificate is 38. Awarded for passing all three course as a “value added” addition to their Master’s degree at their home institution.

Network members have hosted sessions at the 6th IPTRN in 2018 (Yukon, Canada) and 2018 UArctic Congress (Oulu and Helsinki, Finland), and also participated on panels at the International Arctic Forum in 2019 (St. Petersburg, Russia), and 2020 UArctic Congress (virtually from Reykjavik, Iceland in 2021).

A new Masters of Northern Tourism (NOTO) has been launched at the University of Lapland, which builds on the 3-course program developed by network partners. Network partners are also collaborating on a number of Nordregio funded research projects, which support the goals of the course programming.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, members were also prominent in a variety of webinar series, including:

The seven partners who collaborate on the courses have agreed to continue to run this program and have integrated the field course into the work of two Nordregio-funded projects. The 2018 field course focused on seasonality and ran in Rovaniemi, Finland. The next field course ran in 2019 in Umeå, Sweden on the topic of Arctic urban tourism. In 2020, recognizing the impact of the COVID-10 pandemic, the network ran the third year of the field course virtually from Iceland (Workshop link); this was originally planned for October to coincide with the 2020 UArctic Congress and 2020 Arctic Circle; but was postponed to May 2021. We will run our online courses again in 2022 and are hopeful to be able to run the next field course in January 2022, again in Umeå, Sweden.

A group of members have a chapter on tourism coming out soon in Renewable Economies in the Arctic, edited by D.C. Natcher & T. Koivurova, and published by Routledge.

Members have been involved in many different virtual conferences over the COVID-19 pandemic, including the forthcoming 29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research and hope to have a physical presence at the 2022 UArctic Congress (Moscow, Russia), given the theme of Arctic Tourism.

Other Information

Patrick Maher, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Tourism