Department of Culture and Learning


ARCTISEN - Culturally Sensitive Tourism in the Arctic


Culturally Sensitive Tourism in the Arctic

The project ‘Culturally Sensitive Tourism in the Arctic’ – ARCTISEN – develops a support system for start-ups and existing small and medium-sized enterprises offering innovative tourism products and services. Expanding tourist interest in the Arctic brings unforeseen opportunities to maintain local livelihoods and lifestyles. The project partners in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada and Denmark/Greenland highlight the pressing demand for new tourism products and services that draw on the rich natural and cultural resources of the region. Simultaneously, limited knowledge of indigenous and other local cultures in Northern communities calls for more open and sensitive dialogue among different tourism actors. The transnational cooperation among project partners produces a support system that consists of the following three components: 

  1. toolkits and online courses that enhance tourism companies cultural sensitivity, digital, product development and business innovation capacities, 
  2. cluster of culturally sensitive tourism enterprises across the programme area, 
  3. co-creation of new tourism products, services and business innovations.

The project introduces sensitivity as a core value that guides the project activities from benchmarking to test visits, workshops to online courses. These activities will help tourism start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises to turn their place-based opportunities into economically viable tourism businesses. The novelty of ARCTISEN lies in enabling and supporting entrepreneurs to craft culturally sensitive tourism products in close cooperation with a wide range of tourism practitioners and scholars across the programme area. Through transnational tourism cluster, the project contributes to a more positive business
climate for tourism companies – and to making the participating regions more economically robust and versatile in general.


► Project coordinator Carina Ren     

► Postdoctoral researcher Mette Simonsen Abildgaard

► The ARCTISEN project
► The Centre for Innovation and Research in Culture and Living in the Arctic (CIRCLA)
► The academic network Tourism Research Unit (TRU)


Aalborg University (Project partner)
University of Lapland (Project partner) (lead)
University of Waterloo (Project partner)
Umeå Universitet (Project partner)
Universitetet i Tromsø (Project partner)


► ARCTISEN kick-off seminar


Funded by: The EU & Aalborg University
Grant size: €191.009,10 (EU: €124.155,92, AAU: €66.853,19)
Project period: 1 September  2018 → 31 August 2021

All projects from CIRCLA

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