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Kristin Løseth and Peter Varley

Nature based tourism is growing worldwide, but its specific expression varies according to geography, culture and socio-political history. The jet-boats of New Zealand or the heli-skiing of the Canadian Rockies cannot, for better or for worse, just be copied and pasted into any national setting. Commercial mountain guiding is a narrow niche of the adventure tourism industry of Norway. Through a qualitative approach, this chapter will look at how the niche is shaped by changes in outdoor cultures, by the ups- and downs of the national economy, and by the juridical framework regulating the industry. While commercial mountain guiding is taking place in mountain regions worldwide, it is argued that the role of national and regional conditions in product and practice development should not be underestimated.

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Stian Stensland, Magnar Forbord, Knut Fossgard and Kristin Løseth

This chapter examines characteristics of nature-based tourism firms based on data from a national survey in Norway. Through cluster analysis we identify three types of firms: 1) Guided activity firms; 2) Hospitality facilitators that combine accommodation with angling and hunting license and self-guided activities; and 3) Activity package firms that offer comprehensive packages with combinations of activities, accommodation, food, and transport. Although there are many different motivations to be in the business (sustainability, lifestyle, economy, etc.) within and across the firm types, profit and growth are not among the main motivations. Typically, many of the firms are small (1-3 employees) and seasonal, located in rural areas with several sources of income. Few firms plan to increase the number of staff. From a tourism development perspective, governmental support programs and industry advisors should be aware of these specificities of nature-based tourism firms and the diversity in products they offer.