A-27/13 Local residents’valuation of second home owners’ presence in a sparsely inhabited area

Many rural communities are experiencing a reduced full-time population who are to a certain degree being replaced by an influx of part-time dwellers from urban areas. This paper examines how second home owners' presence can be perceived as a valuable compensation for a reduced full-time population by the remaining local residents, when it comes to the latter's social needs. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews with six local residents from the same sparsely populated municipality in Norway. Despite all of them wanting more neighbours, their valuations of second home owners' presence were strikingly different. The findings indicate that second home owners' presence was highly appreciated as a social compensation for a reduced full-time population, as long as local contextual circumstances did not invite a comparison with new permanent residents as a possible alternative. When the latter was the case, second home owners' presence was assessed as an insufficient contribution rather than a social resource. As such, local residents' valuation of second home owners' presence in sparsely inhabited areas may depend to a large degree on the residents' perceptions of the possibilities for future in-migration in their local community. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, Vol 13 (4):317-331

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