In 1997, Mid Sweden University College started the first Scandinavian tourism research institute, ETOUR. Here, outgoing research at a high level is carried out – which will be of use for both society and the interested parties of the tourist trade.
– Research in tourism is important for several reasons. Tourism is a high-growth sector and growth requires access to new technology and research. Tourism is also a phenomenon that affects several dimensions of geographic locations and it is therefore an important driving force for social progress, says Maria Lexhagen, Head of ETOUR.
ETOUR could be founded thanks to a historically large EU support. The idea was to create employment in a sparsely populated part of Europe (the inland of Northern Sweden) by carrying out research projects in collaboration with the private and public tourist trade.
Today, ETOUR is a nationally leading environment for research and education in tourism and travel. The four central research areas are “Nature-based tourism”, ”Information technology and tourism”, “Tourism’s economic, political and spatial dynamic” and “Destinations”. The research is of high international scientific quality and has, among other things, directly affected the Government’s politics in the outdoor life area.
– There are always many exciting things happening here. Right now, among other things, we are conducting research on electric cars, infrastructure and tourism, conflicts in the use of land and resources, business intelligence for destination development and trends in mountain tourism, says Maria.
The University College of Östersund started the tourism programme as early as 1978 and back then, it was one of the few university colleges in the country to provide such an education. In the beginning of the 90s, the subject tourism science was introduced at the university college.