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Young adults’ perceptions of and affective bonds to a rural tourism community
Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Human Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2731-6203
2016 (English)In: Fennia, ISSN 0015-0010, E-ISSN 1798-5617, Vol. 194, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many rural areas, in Sweden and worldwide, experience population decline where the young leave for education and work in urban areas. Employment has declined in several rural industries, such as agriculture, forestry, and fishing, while growing in other industries are often located in urban areas. Politicians and organizations have put much hope in tourism as a tool of rural development, but can tourism help reverse the rural out-migration trend among young adults? This paper explores how tourism affects young inhabitants’ perceptions of and affective bonds to a rural area in Sweden, the ski resort of Sälen. Students from the 1993–1995 elementary school graduating classes were interviewed about their migration history, childhood, and view of and ties to Sälen. The respondents experience that tourism contributes to a more vital community incorporating influences from elsewhere, but without eliminating the positive aspects of rural life. The regular flow of people – tourists, seasonal workers, and entrepreneurs – passing through Sälen presents opportunities to extend one’s social network that are widely appreciated by respondents. The high in and out mobility constitutes a key part of Sälen’s character. Contributions from tourism – such as employment, entertainment, leisure, and opportunities to forge new social relationships – are available during the adult transition, the life phase when rural areas are often perceived as least attractive. Even though out-migration occurs in Sälen, and some respondents still find Sälen too small, tourism has clearly increased the available opportunities and contributed significantly to making Sälen more attractive to young adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 194, no 1
Keyword [en]
Young adults; Tourism; Rural development; Out-migration
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Complex Systems – Microdata Analysis, General Microdata Analysis - tourism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23691DOI: 10.11143/46308OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-23691DiVA: diva2:1059237
Available from: 2016-12-22 Created: 2016-12-22 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Young adults in rural tourism areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Young adults in rural tourism areas
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines how tourism affects conditions for young adults in rural areas. Such a study lies at the intersection of research about tourism impacts, adult transition, and rural areas. The aim is to examine how largescale tourism affects the opportunities for young adults living in rural areas; their perception of place and the perceived opportunities and obstacles that tourism provides.

The thesis utilizes a mixed method approach. A quantitative study based on micro-data on individuals identifies the patterns and magnitudes of the mechanisms by which tourism affects population change among young adults. Interview methods are used in the case study area, Sälen, to investigate these mechanisms in depth. Finally, the rural–urban dichotomy is explored in a conceptual study that asks how tourism affects the perception of a local village as either rural or urban. Young inhabitants in rural areas are rarely considered in tourism research; therefore, the main contribution of this thesis is that it illuminates how tourism affects conditions for young adults in rural areas.

The thesis reveals a substantial impact on the adult transition, mainly due to easier access to the labor market and a good supply of jobs during the high season. Further, the large number of people passing through creates flows of opportunities to make friends, get a job, or just meet people. All of these factors contribute to high mobility in these places, and to the perception of them as places where things happen. The high mobility in Sälen implies that fixed migrant categories (such as stayers and leavers) are largely insufficient. The tourism environment creates a space that is always under construction and continually producing new social relations mainly perceived as opportunities. Conceptualizing this as a modern rurality is a way to move beyond the often implicit notions of urban as modern and rural as traditional.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2016. 76 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Human Geography, 10
Keyword
young adults, adult transition, tourism, rural areas, Sälen, telephone interviews, register study, life history interviews, population change, mobility
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Complex Systems – Microdata Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-23702 (URN)978-91-7529-142-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-27, Clas Ohlson, Röda vägen 3, Borlänge, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-12-22 Created: 2016-12-22 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved

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