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Summer Farmers, Diversification and Rural Tourism—Challenges and Opportunities in the Wake of the Entrepreneurial Turn in Swedish Policies (1991–2019)

Paulina Rytkönen () and Håkan Tunón ()
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Paulina Rytkönen: Department of Business Studies, School of Social Sciences, Södertörn University, 14189 Huddinge, Sweden
Håkan Tunón: Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 12, 1-27

Abstract: Since the 1990s Swedish authorities have increasingly treated summer farms as businesses, expecting them to generate profits like any other firm. However, in addition to being financially independent, summer farms are expected to provide a number of services, to help maintain biological heritage, provide beautiful landscapes for tourists, and much more. Summer farmers are also forced to co-exist with other local stakeholders that base their activities on the same resources, e.g., adventure and nature-based tourism, agriculture, and other businesses. All of this creates a number of entrepreneurial challenges but can also open new windows of opportunity. The response of summer farmers has been to diversify activities to cope with shrinking income and the seasonal character of their trade. Most new business strategies include tourism or increasing the number of cattle rationalizing animal husbandry. The strategies have partly been influenced by policies and partly by new market opportunities. Departing from a business, spatial and institutional contextual analysis we identified five main entrepreneurial strategies, three of which are related to rural tourism, one is related to increasing the animal herd and the fifth is a no-strategy, maintaining status quo. This article analyses the reality of summer farms from a business perspective. The main questions to be answered are: How have summer farmers responded to the entrepreneurial turn in regional development policies? Which are their main business challenges and opportunities?

Keywords: summer farms; diversification; rural entrepreneurship; rural tourism; biological heritage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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