The transformation of Lofoten islands into a year-round experience destination
Jarle Løvland
Håkon Finne
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
Year published:
The Lofoten islands are one of the leading, iconic tourist destinations in Norway, based on unique nature qualities and culture heritage related to fisheries. Over a period of ten years around the turn of the century, the Lofoten tourist industry changed from scattered providers of basic services for island visitors in the summer season to a well-organised destination offering a wide variety of year-round experiences for an ever-increasing number of customers. The chapter proposes that the new and successful character of this tourist industry, particularly as concerns its constitution as a destination, has emerged through complex interactive processes, and that it can be understood as an entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) involving a self-discovery of what it involves to be living successfully off an experience economy. Among important lessons from this case is the strong interdependence between actions of private entrepreneurs, public sector actors, and R&D institutions, and the necessity to develop local strategies for tourism innovation that are locally and socially embedded. These were factors increasingly enabling actors to draw upon a wide range of physical, social and cultural capital, and, over time, mobilising broad participation among key stakeholders both at the regional and destination level.