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.”



Methods and validation of results

To choose municipalities with relevance to the objectives of this project, we used the following three criteria. Criteria 1: Highest number of second homes and cabins in the respective country. Criteria 2: Not within commuting distance to the capital (e.g. max 1 h by car, one-way drive). Criteria 3: Highest community impact (CI) from second homes. A high CI suggests that the number of annual inhabitants (AI) is higher than the permanent population because of seasonal tourism. This indicates a high demand on public services during parts of the year. Although all the Nordic countries, and/or municipalities within them, have taxes targeting second home owners, this is not necessarily enough to cover the costs associated with the second homes. The community impact (CI) was calculated for the 10 municipalities with the highest number of second homes in their respective countries, using the method developed by Steineke (2007). The main motivation for setting these criteria is that the case study municipalities represent areas with high urban–rural flows of people and form a suitable basis to investigate the research questions. Note that based on the criteria, the case for Iceland was Skorradalshreppur municipality. This case study was not used in this project because national stakeholders in Iceland advised us not to, primarily because of the small size of the public administration of Skorradalshreppur.


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