Report: Arctic 5 cities and COVID-19 pandemic – Record-breaking summer for domestic tourism
Summary of the report
Domestic tourism has become increasingly attractive, and summer 2021 has been record-breaking. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused overnight stays by foreign visitors to decrease substantially, and they are still close to zero in many regions. Increased travelling and lifting of the restrictions have affected regional economies positively, e.g., by increasing the demand in retail and restaurant services. However, increased mobility and removal of restrictions have also been the reason why the number of new COVID-19 cases have increased in certain regions.
Lifting of the restrictions and increased vaccination coverage have increased mobility, which is visible in the mobility data as well. Our previous report examining the visits to retail and recreation places showed an increase in visits to these places, and this has continued through summer 2021. Based on the increased mobility during summer and early fall 2021 we could assume that also accommodation data, defined as overnight stays, for August would be higher than for last year. Regarding foreign tourism, this kind of turn for the better is not yet visible.
The increase in vaccination coverage against COVID-19 also supports growth in tourism. Even though the number of new COVID-19 cases increased in August in every city, they typically have been managed to turn to a fall quickly. Societies are opening up and lifting restrictions, which could indicate positive development for international tourism, too.
This latest report broadens the analysis performed in an earlier report. The COVID-19 pandemic has been first and foremost a health crisis, but it has had a severe negative, asymmetric impact not only on individuals, but also on communities and regions. Arctic regions are no exception. The report written by regional economists from the universities of the Arctic 5 cities provides a review of the economic impacts as well as the recovery processes of the COVID-19 pandemic in these cities.