Tourism and Transport -How will improvements in the transport section change the tourism flows to a city? Case study of Umeå, Sweden and Wasaline - PDF

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Umeå University Department of Geography and Economic History Thesis Spring 2014 Supervisor: Ulrika Åkerlund Examiner: Gunnar Malmberg Tourism and Transport -How will improvements in the transport section

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Umeå University Department of Geography and Economic History Thesis Spring 2014 Supervisor: Ulrika Åkerlund Examiner: Gunnar Malmberg Tourism and Transport -How will improvements in the transport section change the tourism flows to a city? Case study of Umeå, Sweden and Wasaline Elin Skutnabba TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION 1 2. AIM OF RESEARCH Outline of the thesis 3 3. THEORETICAL POINTS OF DEPARTURE Definitions The tourism industry and transport 4 4. BACKGROUND Tourism in Sweden The cruise tourism in the Gulf of Bothnia 9 5. METHOD Discussion of method Interview/Survey as a method Credibility Problems and limitations RESULTS Background The tourism flows to Umeå Tourists views about Wasaline DISCUSSION Conclusions SUMMARY REFERENCES 26 Figures Figure 1. Map of road option; 835 km 17 Figure 2. Map of ferry option; 120 km 17 Tables Table 1. Number of guest nights in Umeå municipality Table 2. Numbers of passengers traveling over the Gulf of Bothnia Appendices Appendix 1. Interview questions for Umeå Tourist Agency Appendix 2. Questions for Wasaline Appendix 3. Survey ii ABSTRACT The tourism industry includes many industries and can be affected by many things. The tourism flows are highly linked with the accessibility of the destinations and improvements in the transportation have historically had impacts upon the intensity in the tourism flows. But the exact role is still in a way blurry. This thesis studies how improvements in transportation effects the tourism flows to a city, and the case of Umeå was chosen. Factors like comfort in traveling, fare tickets and improved availability tend to increase the number of passengers. These factors are studied when a new ferry was introduced in 2013 for the traffic linkage between Umeå in Sweden and Vaasa in Finland. Statistics over the number of passengers and Finnish guest nights in Umeå was compared over the years and an interview with the local Tourist Agency in Umeå was held. In addition, there was a survey that included passengers views on the ferry and the improvements that have been done. Local newspaper were also studied to get the societies views upon introducing Wasaline. The result that was given in this thesis indicates that improvements in transportation are highly linked to an increase in the tourism flows. In 2013 both passenger numbers and guest nights had a rapid increase. Keywords Tourism and transportation, Umeå-Vaasa, number of passengers, transport improvements iii 1. INTRODUCTION A tourist can often be explained as one who travels to a country other than in which he/she has his/hers usual residence for at least one night but not more than one year (Duval, 2007 pp. 11). For the most part the transportation is there to make tourism activities possible, it solves the movement possibility for the tourists from the origin to the destination, but sometimes the transportation itself can be the key attraction of a trip, for example cruise tourism (Lundmark et al, 2011 pp. 57). Tourism can therefore be seen as both a service activity and as an industry (Page, 1999 pp. 1). Tourism flows and patterns to destinations are highly linked with the accessibility of the destination. To attract tourists, the destinations must have the available transportation needed to travel to the specific destination (Duval, 2007 pp. 7). Both Duval (2007) and Lundmark et al (2011) would argue that transport is the key element for making tourism possible and Page (1999 pp. 1) claims that transportation has been the most important element for tourism development worldwide. The transport system can include both travel to and from a destination but also transportation within the given destination (Duval, 2007 pp. 15). Lundmark et al. (2011 pp. 57) argue that without transportation there will be no tourism. People s possibility to travel has over time changed as a result of the improved transport systems there are in the world s physical sphere. The perceived world has also changed in our mental space and it has become much smaller because of greater accessibility, so the world is now more available to a greater number of people. Peoples mental reach has changed. Today s society also indicates a better understanding because of language improvement, especially in English. Therefore it is, easier to get access to important information about the destinations and also easier to travel when people can communicate in the same language (Pashkevich, 2011). Another reason for the tourism industry emergence nowadays is the high standard of living that has become more common over greater parts of the world. A better welfare, better infrastructure and technical developments in transport modes create conditions for the tourism industry to grow (Pashkevich, 2011). The tourism flows intensity is strongly connected to the transport supply, but also vice versa, where there is a demand of transportation there will be transport developments (Duval, 2007 pp. 10). Duval (2007 pp. 10) argues that technological innovations in transportation are directly linked to tourism intensity. The introduction of new technologies as well as better and more comfortable ways of traveling has had a clear effect on the demand of travel (Duval, 2007 pp.11). Historically, improvements in the 1 transport sector have had significant impacts on people s mobility and traveling behavior, the travel has increased. Mobility has been a reflection of the current times transport outcome. In the Roman Times people traveled to Pompeii for leisure activities and were highly dependent on well-engineered road systems that were designed and built for horses and carts (Prideaux, 2000). The transportation and infrastructure improvements have followed each other with better, faster and cheaper ways to travel. The steam engine, the car and today the airplane has made it possible to explore every single place on earth. The development of railways in the 1800s made the seaside resorts in the United Kingdom grow, while the introduction of the private car had great impact on the mass tourism in Europe and North America in the 1900s (Prideaux, 2000). Prideaux (2000) is studying the importance of transportation in the destination development and he is arguing that the role of transport is greatly acknowledged but it has not been truly investigated (Prideaux, 2000). Duval (2007 pp. 23) is also targeting this role that transport has in the tourism industry and its role in the great expansion it has had worldwide. Duval (2007) means that development in transportation has a huge impact on tourism flows and people s mobility, but unfortunately the exact role of transportation in the tourism industry is not very clear. The relationship between tourism and transport is in a way blurry. Both Prideaux (2000) and Duval (2007) are targeting the question of the role of transport in the tourism industry. They have both made studies about the effects that improvements in technology have had on the transport modes and the intensity of tourism arrivals. They both agree though, that there has to be more investments done on the outcome of the relationship between the two elements. Umeå in northern Sweden and Vaasa in western Finland are two cities with a long history of cooperation and a transport linkage. To create interaction the cities need an effective transportation in form of a ferry, which has over time had different impacts on the tourism flows between them (Umeå Tourist Agency, 2014). Historically the passenger numbers have been influenced by both regulations by politics and improvements of the ferries. In 2013 Umeå and Vaasa decided to take the cooperation a step further. The cities came together to create a transport company where the cities started to operate the transport linkage together over the Gulf of Bothnia with the ferry, named Wasaline. With this thesis I want to get a closer look on the impacts that the improvements in transportation have had on the tourism flows to Umeå with consideration to the changes made in 2. AIM OF RESEARCH The aim of this thesis is to study the change in Finnish tourism flows to Umeå, Sweden due to improvements in transportation and comfort in traveling. The thesis will study the transportation development of the Wasaline ferry between Umeå and Vaasa in 2013, and how it affected the Finnish tourism flows traveling to Umeå. The following questions will be answered: (i) To what extend do the Finnish tourists coming to Umeå rely on the transport linkage of the Wasaline ferry? (ii) What effects have improvements in transport and introducing Wasaline had on the Finnish tourism flows to Umeå in 2013 compared to 2012? 2.1. Outline of the thesis The thesis is organized as follows. First, there will be a short section where definitions used in the thesis will be explained. Second, there will be a review of theoretical points of departure that are relevant for the thesis about the tourism industry and transport. Furthermore, there will be an overview of tourism in Sweden followed by a historical overview about cruise tourism in the Gulf of Bothnia. After that, there will be discussion of method and a review of the methods used in this thesis. In the result section, which will follow, there will first be a short description of the two chosen cities and the operator Wasaline. It will be followed with an explanation of the linkages between the cities and different route options. Next, there is a description of statistics and a summary of the tourism flows to Umeå as well as the interview from the tourist agency s view on the increased tourism flows. Next, a section of summarizing the survey will follow. Last there is a discussion and a conclusion part upon the chosen case and the results given in this thesis. It will all end with a short summary of the research. 3. THEORETICAL POINTS OF DEPARTURE 3.1. Definitions In this thesis there will be analysis and discussions upon subjects including definitions like tourism, tourism activity, a tourist and a destination. Therefore, to get a better understanding throughout the paper we must determine which explanation will define these words and what 3 approach the thesis will have on the definitions. For tourism and a tourism activity the same approach as the Swedish Tillväxtverket was chosen, which also is a definition from the UNWTO organization and a worldwide definition (Lundmark et al, 2011 pp. 14). It describes tourism as people s activity when they travel to or visit a place outside their normal residence for a shorter time than a year, for leisure, business or other purposes (Tillväxtverket, 2013 pp. 6). This definition defines a tourist as all consumption that is connected to traveling when people are outside their normal environment of residence. It is a definition that explains time, place and purpose (Tillväxtverket, 2013; Lundmark et al, 2011 pp. 14). There might be a misjudgment with that definition in this thesis regarding the tourism of VFR (visiting friends and relatives). By this definition these people are clearly tourists, while not included in the statistics over guest nights due to the fact that they usually do not stay at places where a payment has been made. This is something that will be taken into consideration in the thesis later on. In the thesis, when scrutinizing the passenger numbers, all passengers traveling with Wasaline are considered a tourist. This because of the fact that they are crossing a national border while traveling with the ferry. With this everyone is included in the statistics; students, tourists, truck drivers and people visiting friends and relatives. This will not affect the purpose of the analysis any further. The purpose of observing the passenger numbers is to compare the numbers in different years and not to categorize the characteristics of the people traveling with the ferry. A place, city or a region where people travel to is called a destination (Bohlin & Elbe, 2011 pp. 11). A destination in this thesis will be according to this definition. This means that Umeå and Vaasa are destinations, but also the regions Västerbotten and Ostrobothnia. This definition is clear due to the fact that traveling with Wasaline will take the passengers to a destination, whether it is Umeå or Vaasa The tourism industry and transport The tourism industry involves many different industries. Tourism activities and people s mobility create understanding between different cultures and builds relationships between places and people. The tourism industry develops infrastructure, it gives natural and cultural appreciation but it also creates employment opportunities and economic income (Tillväxtverket, 2013 pp. 7). To create an attractive destination there are a lot of sectors that have to collaborate and work together. Lundmark et al (2011 pp. 13) argue that there are four aspects that a destination needs to 4 take into consideration to be successful. First and foremost the destination needs to have one or more definite attractions; something that will attract the tourists to travel to that specific destination. Second the destination needs to have a complete supply of amenities, restaurants and housing, all of a great standard. The destination also needs to have good transportation; traveling there needs to be easily achieved. The last aspect that Lundmark et al (2011 pp. 13) recognize is good marketing and promoting. The information for the tourists needs to be supplied easily and openly displayed for everyone. The American scientist Ullman has created three primal elements for spatial interaction to occur. These are essential to increase a place s attraction, its competiveness and to create accessibility (Pashkevich, 2011; Wheeler et al, 1998). The three elements are: complementarity, transferability and intervening opportunities. Complementarity means that destinations have a certain attraction that compels the tourist to travel there and this specific attraction can t be found elsewhere. With transferability Ullman argues that destinations need transport access to make the mobility possible but also in a certain price range that is accepted by the tourists. The last element, intervening opportunities, indicates that there cannot be a similar attraction elsewhere with easier access than the chosen destination, because otherwise it may lead to people choosing to travel to other destinations (Pashkevich, 2011). When the bridge between Malmö in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark was finished in 2000 the transferability between these two regions increased significantly and the countries became closer. It also created new patterns and greater accessibility to other countries in northern Europe such as Germany (Pashkevich, 2011). According to Butler (1980) there is a number of ways that transport has affected tourism. For example: A reduction in financial cost, especially on a per capita basis, improvement in comfort and safety for passenger and increased accessibility of destinations. Page (1999 pp. 7) is also targeting this aspect and he discusses the importance of the travel experience and that the passengers must enjoy the travel. Everything should match the passengers expectations. Bieger and Wittmer (2006) discuss that tourism flows and passenger increase is not only determined by tourism development factors. They argue that personal preferences and tourist demand together with tourism supply at a destination also must be included in the research of tourism flows. The attractions and the tourism amenities need to satisfy the tourists to make the tourism flows. There are certain factors that will work as magnetism for a destination, a so called pull factor for the tourists, for example a big attraction or a specific 5 museum. This is also influenced if the destination has a high standard of transportation to the location, or in addition, if the transport system will work as a node to other places and destinations (Pashkevich, 2011). Wheeler et al (1998 pp. 80) is discussing a phenomenon which he calls distance decay. This means that the interaction between different destinations is in the opposite range than the physical distance between them. The majority of the Swedes trips in 2005 went to the nearby countries such as Finland and Denmark. This pattern is something that applies in general for tourism patterns worldwide; the majority of the travel goes to neighboring countries (Pashkevich, 2011). The model of the tourism/transport system is a model where origins are linked with destinations. The tourism flows that occur between these nodes are linked and dependent on the transportation opportunities between them (Duval, 2007 pp. 15). The flows intensity is influenced by different factors which include availability, cost-effectiveness, motivation of traveling and time (Duval, 2007 pp. 15). The model is also illustrating the transport modes within the destination that may occur which can for example be taxis and public transportation. When people are traveling they might have more than one destination involved in their traveling plan. The traveling pattern will then be affected by which infrastructure and transportation that is available. To understand the relationship between tourism developments and transport the most important factor to remember is the accessibility. It is also the most critical aspect which is the main purpose of the tourism flows worldwide. Usually one place is connected to many other destinations and every place works as a gateway and opens up to give the tourists access to many other destinations. This means that one transport route can create and open up other routes as well (Duval, 2007 pp. 57). If a destination already receives tourists it is important to expand and to continue to attract tourists, plus accommodate them in the right way (Bohlin & Elbe pp. 11). For places that are not yet a destination but have the potential and with something unique, it is interesting to start reflecting on the possibilities and how this transformation to becoming a desirable destination will take place (Bohlin & Elbe, 2011 pp. 11). For this, the transport system in some places can play a significant role. Not only if there already is accessibility but also how the government is planning the future. Infrastructure changes, developmental or political decisions can have consequences on places that will be affected by these factors. If a place creates an increase in accessibility and more tourists are coming there, it does not necessarily always have a positive outcome. When places 6 become more available it brings more pollution to the environment and also more abrasion on the land (Pashkevich, 2011). To maintain the tourism patterns and global networks, investments in capital and infrastructure is required. Both the transport providers and the destinations have a financial interest in making the destinations attractive and available to tourists (Duval, 2007 pp. 33). It can also be an aspect of image, perception and expectations and these may vary, depending on the type of tourists and type of traveling it is (adventurous, families, etc.). On the other hand, this may have an effect on the transport demand as well (Duval, 2007 pp. 78). The financial interest can also be political and national and sometimes connecting two countries can be of an international interest. 4. BACKGROUND 4.1. Tourism in Sweden Sweden is a country of great size but it is sparsely populated. This means that in general it is a long distance between places and cities which puts a heavy demand on the transport system. Due to this reason, the development in the tourism industry in today s Sweden is showing a clear importance of a good infrastructure and that transport matters (Bohlin & Elbe, 2011 pp. 12). The tourism industry can be divided into categories dependent of transport mode and the most common one in Sweden in 2009 was air travel which had a revenue
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