Tuesday 24. April 2012

Tourism and Coastal Management

On Wednesday, April 25, two master's thesis presentations will be held at the University Centre. Both of the projects presented have to do with current issues of the Westfjords. The presentations will be held in room 1-2 at the University Centre and begin at 16:00.

Þórir Örn Guðmundsson will first presents his thesis entitled on Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Marine Spatial Planning in the Westfjords, and the effect these processes will have on the environment, stakeholders and residents of the area. His thesis is written in Icelandic, and will also be presented in Icelandic.

Þórir Örn's advisor is Gunnar Páll Eydal, environmental specialist at Eik Planning Agency and the external reader is professor Sigríður Kristjánsdóttir Assistant Professor at the Agricultural University of Iceland.

Alex Elliott will also present his thesis entitled Economic and environmental sustainability in coastal rural tourism development: a case study on The Nauteyri Project in the Westfjords of Iceland. This thesis concerns the development of a non-profit organisation called The Nauteyri Project, intended to bring sustainable tourism, a nature reserve, environmental and social research options and environmental awareness education to the area of Nauteyri in the Westfjords of Iceland. The Nauteyri Project succeeded in attracting enthusiastic support, but struggled in securing funding. This thesis asks why that was the case, with a view to helping and encouraging similar projects in the future. The question is too multi-faceted to answer directly, so the thesis asks questions pertinent to the whole Westfjords tourism sector. The research questions are related to Sustainable Development in Westfjords tourism, the extent to which tourism should be developed as one of the region's core economic pillars, and how the tourism industry in the region should be organised and funded. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with relevant experts in the field. Ten recommendations for future tourism development are presented. Findings include that sustainable tourism development should be encouraged in the region; but that its potential is limited unless more winter visitors can be attracted. Despite the lack of funding upon first attempt, the thesis concludes that an idea like The Nauteyri Project could have a place in the region's future.

Alex's advisor is Anna Karlsdóttir an Assistant Professor of human geography and tourism studies at the University of Iceland and the external reader is Brad Barr an instructor at the University Centre Coastal Management program.

View over Ísafjarðardjúp.  Photo: Kjartan Pétur Sigurðsson
View over Ísafjarðardjúp. Photo: Kjartan Pétur Sigurðsson