Aim and Outputs

Aim – Improve Entrepreneurial Business Environment

Culturally sensitive tourism in the Arctic (ARCTISEN) is a transnational project between six countries, eight project partners and 13 associated partners. Project partners are: University of Lapland, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Northern Norway Tourist Board, Umeå University, Ájtte - Mountain and Sámi museum, Aalborg University, University of Waterloo and World Indigenous Tourism Alliance. ARCTISEN focuses on improving support systems tailored for start-ups and existing SMEs in remote and sparsely populated areas (specific objective 2.1.) The project started 1st of November 2018 and will finish 30th of September 2021. Total budget is 1.455.547,88€.

The main result of the project is improved entrepreneurial business environment for culturally sensitive tourism. This gives better conditions for tourism start-ups and SMEs in Arctic areas. The main result is achieved by improving and increasing transnational contacts, networks and cooperation among different businesses and organizations. Improvement of business environment also results in concrete products and services, locally and transnationally designed, that support the capacities of start-ups and SMEs to develop sustainable, competitive and attractive tourism businesses drawing on place-based opportunities.

The emergence of culturally sensitive tourism products will diversify local economies and attract new visitors to the area, making tourism a more viable and attractive source of livelihood for people living in Northern communities and also better conditions for local companies.


Output 1 – Improved understanding of culturally sensitive tourism

During the first phase of the project, ARCTISEN team traveled across the Arctic conducting interviews with different kinds of tourism actors, such as start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local destination management organisations (DMO). In addition to these interviews, tourists participated in a survey that explored the existing demand for culturally sensitive tourism services and products in the project area. 

The results of these interviews, survey and literature reviews are gathered together into a transnational baseline report. Moreover, national baseline reports from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland and Canada provide more detailed information on current tourism business environment in all project countries -- information that can be applied also beyond the Arctic.

In April 2021, several research organisations co-hosted a webinar that Explored the Meanings and Practices of Cultural Sensitivity in Tourism. Recording of the webinar can be re-visited here. Moreover, research article Cultural Sensitivity: Engaging Difference in Tourism, presents one understanding of culturally sensitive tourism.  

Output 2 – Online courses

The ARCTISEN project has created two free, self-study online courses. These courses welcome you to the world of culturally sensitive tourism in the Arctic. The courses were launched during 2021, and are free for anyone to join! Permanent link to the course:

The first course 'CULTURAL SENSITIVITY IN ARCTIC TOURISM' includes an introduction to cultural sensitivity, examples of business innovations, product development, digitalization, responsible marketing and cultural sensitivity in tourism companies. 

The second course 'RESEARCH ON CULTURALLY SENSITIVE TOURISM' consists of a conceptual framework of cultural sensitivity, articles, reports, inspirational videos and exercises that introduce the current academic discussions on cultural sensitivity in the Arctic.

The practical examples in both courses come from Finnish Lapland, Northern Sweden and Norway, Greenland and northern Canada. Both courses' extent is 1 credit, which means that it will take about 27 hours to complete one course. You will receive a certificate after completing the course.



Output 3 – Guidelines and roadmaps


We have collected important tourism guidelines around the project area and gathered them together to a prezi-presentation, that offers guidance through the world of guidelines. Guidelines and quality certificates provide learning materials and means of recognition for companies that aim to improve their tourism services towards a more sustainable and responsible tourism practice. The map includes examples from Canada, Greenland, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Moreover, it draws focus on important international guidelines that can offer new ideas and inspiration.



Based on the discoveries throughout the project lifetime and the difficulty of creating common guidelines, we decided to create a roadmap “Paths to culturally sensitive tourism business” which shows how tourism can be done in culturally sensitive way. Due to pandemic, the guidelines have been created based on the videos made for our online course and also based on the national reports produced during the project. To see texts better, please click the picture and use zoom tool. The picture is also printable.