Managing Seasonality in Tourism : Challenges and Opportunities for the Tourism Industry in Húsavík, Iceland

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Turismvetenskap

Abstract:

Seasonality is a common phenomenon in the tourism industry around the world. Húsavík, a town on the northern coast of Iceland, has experienced tremendous growth in tourism in recent years and is sometimes recognised as the „Whale Watching Capital of Europe‟. However, Húsavík faces extreme seasonality with high demand mainly during the summer months and limited or no demand at other times of the year. As is emphasised in the tourism literature and widely in practice, seasonality is frequently seen as a problem for the tourism industry which has to be tackled. Academic research has never before been done on seasonality in Húsavík and the aim of this thesis is to understand the nature of seasonality within the tourism industry in Húsavík and discover potential ways to reduce seasonality in Húsavík tourism. In order to fulfil the aim, qualitative semi-structured interviews were undertaken with six tourism managers in Húsavík to investigate their perceptions of seasonality and if and how it could be managed. The results confirmed that the peripheral location of the destination stimulates seasonality and it poses major economic challenges for tourism businesses in Húsavík. Managers would prefer a longer tourism season. Several recommendations were provided for how to reduce seasonality such as develop other attractions than whale watching, improve accessibility, focus marketing on seasons outside the summer, and offer winter packages for foreign and domestic tourists.

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