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Urban–Rural Flows from Seasonal Tourism and Second Homes

Planning challenges and strategies in the Nordics

image of Urban–Rural Flows from Seasonal Tourism and Second Homes

Estimations for the Nordic population is that half of the 27 million inhabitants have access to a holiday home, via ownership, family or friends. People use second homes during the summer or winter season and increasingly at weekends; therefore, our analyses find that a continuous counter-urbanisation process exists in the Nordic Region. We conclude that second homes and seasonal tourists are primarily considered a positive asset for job creation, planning of cultural activities and provision of services. At the same time, the central challenges are adapting the welfare system and services to these large flows of voluntary temporary inhabitants. This motivates us to recommend policymakers and decision-makers in the Nordic Region to discuss whether municipal income taxes should be shared between municipalities, based on the locations of the permanent home and the second home. The main rationale behind this recommendation is that the infrastructure and welfare system could then be better adapted to the actual number of people who spend time in each municipality and make use of the local welfare system. Errata to the map Second Homes in 2017 (p.13 in the report): The statement “In total, there are 67 secondary homes per 1000 inhabitants in the Nordic Countries.” Should be “ In total, there are 65 secondary homes per 1000 inhabitants in the Nordic Countries.”

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Nordic overview

Although exceptions exist, second homes in the Nordic countries are traditionally a detached house on a plot of often rural land (Åkerlund et al., 2015), where no one is registered as a permanent resident. The fieldwork conducted for this study confirmed that it is impossible to identify a second home from a permanent home by visual inspection. Pitkänen et al., (2014) even found that there are no specific activities or groups of activities typical for permanent residents or second home owners. Information and communication technologies such as wi-fi also complicate the discussion further, as different digital solutions enable people to work in their rural (second) home although their workplace might be located in an urban area (Ellingsen, 2016). These results imply that using strict divisions between urban and rural areas and between permanent residents and voluntary temporary residents does not reflect the situation in these municipalities.

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