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Tourism Development in Rural Areas in Sweden – In the Shadow of a Well-Established Destination

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Abstract
Tourism development has been studied by researchers for decades, yet the issue of destinations that are situated in the shadow of well-established destinations has not yet been addressed in any depth. This article defines these as destinations that exist in the shadow of a well-established place to visit with a strong identity and well-known brand. Well-established destinations with high profile branding attract many tourists. Destinations in their shadow, on the other hand, struggle with tourism and destination development. The aim of this paper is to better understand these types of destinations. The study is a multiple case study examining two shadow destinations located in rural settings in Sweden. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with representatives from the destinations’ municipality, local destination development organisations, tourism companies, and infrastructure companies. Data were also collected from observations and written materials. The results show that shadow destinations could add value to tourists visiting well-established places to visit by offering attractions that benefit tourists. They also show the importance of destinations networking with each other and the usefulness of well-known brands in their communication with tourists. In addition, shadow destinations can help well-known places become more sustainable by reducing the pressure of unsustainable high numbers of tourists visiting them. Finally, shadow destinations could give tourists the option of choosing other tourist routes in a region, allowing them to experience attractions such as gastronomy routes, for example, in shadow destinations.


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