Social Carrying Capacity

In Sámi Homeland, social carrying capacity is evaluated from the perspective of the Sámi community and the preservation and development of Sámi culture. In assessing the tolerance levels of social carrying capacity, the maximum acceptable number of visitors as well as tourism operations and activities at a locality must be determined, which, when exceeded, will lead to the weakening of the sense of identity, the way of life, social behaviour or customs of the Sámi community. Tourism must not be prioritised over the benefits or rights of the Sámi community and it must not have a negative impact on the level of services for the Sámi community. Also from the perspective of visitors, the ratio of the number of visitors and tourism operations and activities must remain at an acceptable level to prevent the weakening of visitors’ customer satisfaction. Social carrying capacity may vary quite considerably even within the Sámi community, depending, among other things, on whether the members of the community benefit from tourism directly or indirectly, how far the community or its members are located from basic services, and how an increase in tourism affects the sense of security of the community or individuals. When mapping social carrying capacity out, the carrying capacity of the basic infrastructure must also be reassessed as the number of visitors increases, in terms of place and time and taking into consideration variation between seasons. If tourism or visitors in a specific destination are perceived to disrupt the normal daily lives of the locals or the fulfilment of their basic needs, or if tourism or visitors are perceived to have negative impact on the sense of security of the local population, the situation must be addressed and corrected as soon as possible to prevent a decrease in the wellbeing of the Sámi community, other local community and the visitors.