Authors: Elsbeth Bembom, Randy Bruin, and Carina Ren
Affiliation: Aalborg University, UiT- The Arctic University of Norway
HOW TO CITE:
<insert-authors> (2021). <insert-abstract-title>. 29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research Shaping mobile futures: Challenges and possibilities in precarious times, 21-23 September 2021. Online. Retrieved: <insert-date>, from http://www.airth.global
As for many other tourism companies across the globe, the summer of 2020 was unusual for many tourism entrepreneurs throughout the Arctic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While their usual international clientele stayed home, local companies were to some extent able to welcome domestic tourists instead. Since tourism in many Arctic destinations had grown significantly during the last decade due to increased interest of international markets, tourism businesses needed to rethink their offers for this new domestic guest. How did Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs adapt to the crisis and how can their responses be understood considering discussions of Indigenous entrepreneurship? To answer these questions, this study draws on interviews with tourism managers at local DMOs and Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs in the Arctic.
As described in the interviews, local tourism businesses implemented minor to radical product innovations to target domestic visitors, such as ‘softening’ their tours and upgrading their food and accommodation offers with locally produced products. In accordance with earlier research on Indigenous entrepreneurship, Indigenous business owners often rely on directly available resources and prioritize their heritage and values over financial profit (Wennecke, Jacobsen & Ren, 2019). Even though Indigenous entrepreneurship is often contrasted to “mainstream” definitions of entrepreneurship (Hindle & Lansdowne, 2005), this research stresses the adaptability and resilience of Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs during a crisis, which challenges assumptions regarding Indigeneity and entrepreneurial skills.