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 Arctic Coastal Communities and Sustainability, who deal with related topics. The network is also closely aligned to external networks such as the International Polar Tourism Research Network (IPTRN).
In 2016/2017 the seven network partners involved in a Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) project ran a field school and two online courses. The three courses were all hosted by UiT The Arctic University of Norway with instructor and examiner teams made up of other network partners. The field course, Northern Tourism in Practice, had 33 participants. The two online courses, Sustainable Development in Northern Environments and Northern Tourist, Northern Hosts, had 28 and 11 participants respectively. Students who complete this grouping of 3 “value added” courses as part of their home degree will receive a certificate of completion from UArctic – the draft of which is currently in the approval stages.
From the sessions held at the September 2016 1st University of the Arctic Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, a number of network partners have now published chapters in the Springer Polar Sciences The Interconnected Arctic.
The network, as well as the SIU-funded Master of Northern Tourism initiative, was presented as a successful case of Arctic collaboration at the annual conference of the Association of International Educators in Los Angeles, USA (May/June 2017). The network also hosted 4 well-attended sessions, in cooperation with the IPTRN and others, at ICASS IX in Umeå, Sweden (June 2017).
At a meeting in Alta in January 2017, the SIU-funded group determined that they will continue to run the “value-added” suite of three courses. These include a field course in September 2017 in Kolari, Finland organized in collaboration between University of Lapland/Multidimensional Tourism Institute, University of Oulu/Department of Geography and Oulu School of Architecture and Municipality of Kolari. The two online courses are planned to run again in the spring semester of 2018, hosted by the University of Oulu and University of Iceland respectively. Once again, multiple instructors and examiners from multiple network institutions will be involved.
The Thematic Network will be represented at the Nordic Universities Research Forum on Grand Challenges in the Arctic to be held in Reykjavík, Iceland (October 2017), in relation to the annual Arctic Circle conference and plans to submit a number of sessions proposals to the science section of the next UArctic Congress to be hosted in Oulu and Helsinki, Finland (September 2018).