Huge potential for Nordic co-operation on tourism

18.03.19 | News
Islands turismminister Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir och Sigrún Brynja Einarsdóttir, som skrivit turismrapporten.
Þórir Hrafnsson

On 27 March, Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir presented a report to Iceland’s Minister for Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir.


A new report commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers states that the Nordic countries have a lot to gain from working together in the field of tourism. Areas in which co-operation may be beneficial include innovation, digitalisation, and marketing.

The analysis was conducted by Iceland’s former minister for business and industry Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, who puts forward a number of proposals for how co-operation could be strengthened. The report should be seen as a basis for the forthcoming Nordic tourism plan, which is due to be launched later this year.

Tourism is a priority area in the Nordic Council of Ministers, and co-operation in tourism will be high on the agenda when the Nordic ministers for business meet in Iceland in June.

In her report, Árnadóttir highlights sustainable tourism as one area in which closer co-operation would be beneficial, and in which the challenges are largely the same throughout the region. She proposes a Nordic roadmap with measurable and ambitious targets for sustainable tourism. In addition, she calls for clear goals and priorities for Nordic politicians with regard to co-operation on sustainable tourism. 

Co-operation would add value

Árnadóttir highlights digitalisation as a key co-operation area. She proposes the creation of a forum tasked with developing new ideas within digital tourism, focusing on things like smart destinations. In addition, Árnadóttir wants to see more collaboration on statistics and mobile data.

She emphasises that co-operation must be effective, relevant, and add value. Árnadóttir wants more than for co-operation to be merely a matter of form, and proposes the use of existing structures as a foundation.

“Many challenges within the field of tourism are shared by all countries, so there’s much to gain from working together. In my analysis efforts, I could clearly see that there is both an interest and a need for increased Nordic co-operation in the tourism sector. The countries can learn a lot from each other,” says Árnadóttir.

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