Tourism is of substantial economic importance in Norway, but some forms of tourism are questionable from a sustainability point of view. Arguably, there is thus a need to re-think Norwegian tourism with a view to the challenges implied in Norway’s decision to become a carbon neutral country by 2050, its ambitions to preserve natural areas and culture within the framework of value generation, and the overall goal of creating socio-economically just, desirable and equitable forms of tourism. This calls for a better understanding of the opportunities and threats the tourism sector is facing, considering socio-economis, cultural and environmental dimensions, and with the overall idea of renewing and innovating the tourism sector towards a Sustainable Destination Norway.
Consequently, the research programme’s overarching goal is to create debate on tourism development in Norway and to increase knowledge on the problems and opportunities associated with different development paths. More specifically, we will seek to build a number of scenarios for Norwegian tourism by 2025, which will help to both stimulate debate and to simultaneously increase the knowledge base for informed decision-making. It is important to note that scenarios can be updated over time, and they are thus flexible tools that can be used even after the research programme has been completed. Based on cooperation with internationally renowned scientists, it will integrate cutting edge frameworks for destination management and planning, including “sustainable yield, sustainable transport and offsetting schemes, carbon-neutral destinations and actor network” development to provide innovative, competitive and sustainable models for restructuring and re-inventing Norway as destination.