Bohuslän is a county on the west coast of Sweden famous for its unique and pristine archipelago with natural and cultural historical interest and picturesque fishing villages. Several initiatives have been taken to broaden the range of experiences for tourists visiting the area. Some of the main attractions, except for nature in itself, are the Havets hus in Lysekil, the rock carvings in Tanum, the Watercolor Museum in Skärhamn and the sculpture exhibition in Pilane.
In line with the emergence of food tourism as an international trend, seafood and other maritime assets play important roles for the development of tourism in the region. They provide new opportunities for creating attractive tourist products, such as fishing trips, lobster, mussel and oyster safaris and food festivals. These activities are combined into attractive packages of accommodation, transport and restaurant experiences. Food tourism is thus an example of how tourism creates jobs and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors as well as openings for learning and contemplation. However, the fragile coastal and marine environments needs special consideration when balancing between conservation and utilization of the natural space. There is also a challenge concerning how tourism affects the welfare of the local population. The challenges are especially noted during high season with overload at the local healthcare, shops, ports, archipelago and transportation systems as well as in low season through limited or no access to the same amenities and infrastructure.
Sustainable tourism is an orientation not only aimed at environmental aspects, but also wants economic, cultural, social and political sustainable development to become reality through changes in behavior and social systems. One of the highlighted areas of the maritime tourism focus group is to involve academics, public and private sectors in creative teams, where understanding, knowledge and ideas are captured, integrated and generated. In such an innovation arena, new and improved products, processes, marketing methods, new organizational methods and relationships can emerge in order to contribute to a sustainable development. As knowledge is crucial for the development of sustainable tourism, education is another topic of interest.
The Center for Tourism at the University of Gothenburg is responsible for managing and developing this meeting place for maritime tourism.
The overall aim of the maritime tourism focus group is to develop and initiate higher education in maritime tourism as well as to create an innovation arena for tourism in Bohuslän.
The objectives for achieving these purposes are:
- To describe how we perceive the subject of maritime tourism, to define what maritime tourism means and what it includes, in order to develop the focus area of maritime tourism and become one of Europe's most outstanding knowledge centers
- Developing procedures and working methods for the venue, innovation arena, so that it works efficiently and transparently, and strengthens cooperation between academia, industry, municipalities, authorities and other stakeholders.
The focus of maritime tourism has a clear link with the "Blue Growth" initiative in the European Union Horizon 2020 research program.
Center for Tourism at the University of Gothenburg
Visiting address: Vasagatan 1, floor 9
Postal Address: Box 610, 405 30 Göteborg