Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 275

275     Arctic Yearbook 2014 Figure 1: The Arctic areas in Europe as referred to in this study: large parts of Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands, and northern parts of North Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Source: The EU Northern Periphery Programme, retrieved from www.northernperiphery.eu, 2014. Gunnarsbyn, the setting of this study, is a small community in Norrbotten, northern Sweden (Figure 2). It is located close to the polar circle where it is usually covered with snow from November till March, continued by the spring-winter referred to as the best time of the year by locals. Summers are relatively short but warm. A small population spread over large territories is descriptive for the north of Sweden. The town of Gunnarsbyn has 157 inhabitants located in Boden municipality where 27,500 people are spread over 4,300 km2, a density of 7 people per km2 (SMCLRA 2011). Out of Sweden’s 53.7 million overnight stays in 2013, 2.15 million of these were in Norrbotten. Although this number does not seem like a lot, the overnight stays in Norrbotten have increased by 13% since 2008, which is significant compared to the national increase of 7% (Statistics Sweden 2014). It could be assumed that Norrbotten has premium conditions for development as a tourist destination all year round. But despite small scale tourism activities, tourist hosts in Gunnarsbyn need to adapt to the municipal, national Figure 2: Location of case and global conditions of the tourism industry. study, Gunnarsbyn. Source: SMCLRA (2011). Sweden is, according to the 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, the 9th most competitive country for   tourism (out of 140). The T&TC index consists of 14 pillars, whereof Sweden’s highest score is in ‘environmental sustainability’ (ranks number 1 out of 140), but Kristjánsdóttir