NGOs Fostering Alternative Tourism Economies: Sleeping outdoors campaign as a case of proximity tourism
Nevala, Henna (2021-10-29)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The pursuit of continuous growth, private benefits, and wealth that manifest in our capitalist economic practices has created global issues that have degraded the comprehensive socio-ecological well-being on this planet. The parameters for measuring and presenting value in the tourism industry have for long leaned heavily on economic quantities and indicators which has drawn value away from incommensurable commons involved in or affected by tourism, such as well-being, communality, and biodiversity (Cave & Dredge, 2018; Veijola, 2020a). The increase of sustainability concerns in recent years, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, have turned tourists’, governments’ and researchers’ gazes towards alternative ways to organize and practice tourism. Additionally, researchers are calling for reframing the economy to include alternative economic practices that can help to solve the issues of the prevailing capitalist economy. This thesis aims to explore these alternative ideologies and build an understanding of the role of Finnish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as fosterers of alternative economic processes within the tourism realm and as contributors of proximity tourism as a new commodity. To achieve the goal, this thesis examines the Sleeping outdoors campaign, organized by Suomen Latu – The Outdoor Association of Finland in a context of alternative economies. The campaign was studied as a case by omitting a qualitative research approach and using an instrumental case study design. The research data consisted of focused semi-structured interviews conducted with the campaign representatives and documents collected from the representatives and online sources. The data was analysed using theory-guided content analysis. The thesis demonstrates that the way in which the NGOs contribute to alternative tourism economy is through fostering diverse, low-threshold practices, that emphasize care, cooperation, communality, and nature appreciation. Their work fosters reciprocal connections between humans and nature, as well as between humans and their communities, which open a space where alternative ideologies and economies can gain ground. Through their act of commoning, the NGOs are claiming, maintaining and sharing commons which help people to understand the shared benefits and responsibilities related to the contemporary use of natural environments. With their operations, the NGOs are creating spaces for unlearning unsustainable structures of tourism economies and for rethinking tourism in local contexts while shifting the focus from personal benefits to the well-being of others. By shedding light on these multileveled operations of Finnish NGOs, this study enables to contribute to the process of revealing the diversity of the economy and show how seemingly marginalised actions can have profound effects.
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