Understanding user needs: a practice-based approach to exploring the role of weather and sea ice services in European Arctic expedition cruising

Machiel Lamers*, Paula Duske, Linde van Bets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change has been credited with making the Arctic Ocean more accessible to maritime transport, but those navigating its waters must contend with highly dynamic and unpredictable weather and sea ice conditions. Despite ongoing developments in weather and sea ice services to enable responsible and safe operation and navigation, little is known about what and how these information services are used, and whether the services meet the information needs of maritime sectors. Here we address this gap by providing insights from the expedition cruise tourism sector active in European Arctic ocean areas. By applying a social practice theory perspective and relying on semi-structured interviews we show how weather and sea ice services are currently used by expedition cruise operators in various operational decision-making contexts. We argue that practice theory contributes to understanding user needs in a more contextualized way, which is essential for enhancing and tailoring information services. Our analysis suggests that weather and sea ice are only two elements in a complex socio-material setting. Finally, we argue that weather and sea ice services contribute to the resilience and rationalization of the expedition cruise sector in the European Arctic and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-278
JournalPolar Geography
Volume41
Issue number4
Early online date24 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • European Arctic
  • expedition cruising
  • practice theory
  • Tourism
  • user needs
  • weather and sea ice services

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