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Ann Heidi Hansen

Senior Adviser Tourism
Nordland County Council, Norway


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Nordland Fylke – Why Do We Need Tourism: From Volume to Value Using Bottom-Up Initiatives

Ann Heidi has worked 25 years within different tourist development projects at the regional level. She holds a PhD in tourism and her research interest is in understanding the tourist experience. Tourism industry actors have humorously given her the nickname “Dr. Goosebump” as she has exhaustively researched how, when and why memorable moments and consumer immersion occurs within nature based tourist experiences. Ann Heidi was also asked to be a member when the Norwegian Government appointed a public committee on destination development and visitor management. 


Ann Heidi Hansen is currently working as a senior adviser in tourism at Nordland County Council. She has recently been project manager of a 5-year, first-of-its kind pilot project in Responsible Visitor Management (2018-2022) at Norway’s Nordland County Administration.


Responsible Visitor Management is aiming to develop a holistic approach to ensure a sustainable and locally governed development in areas of Nordland where has recently experienced a considerable influx of tourists. Three local areas participated in developing new concrete tools for visitor management: Lofoten (iconic islands and international attraction), Vega (UNESCO world heritage site) and Svartisen (entrance to national park and glacier). 


The project has focused on how responsible visitor management can enhance sustainability and how tourism can contribute towards developing local communities that are both attractive to live in and attractive to visit. The pilot project has initiated several innovation projects within 4 main themes:


  1. The importance of local involvement. 

  2. Increasing local politicians’ engagement in visitor management. 

  3. Applying visitor management in local planning. 

  4. Responsible marketing and communicating local values to visitors. 


Ann Heidi will be talking about ideas and thoughts on tomorrow’s responsible travel industry where we should move from “more” to “better” both for the visitor and the local community. Why do we need tourism? And how can we change destination development from volume to value using bottom-up initiatives?

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