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“There are more lights in the windows” Challenges and opportunities for island societies in Sweden during the Covid-19 pandemic

With more than 260 000 islands, Sweden is one of the countries with most islands in the world. Its islands are located along the coasts and in the larger lakes. For the municipalities and regions where they are located, the islands are places for recreation and symbols in tourism marketing. A rough overview over the impact of the pandemic on rural and remote areas indicates that Swedish tourism in 2020 and 2021 mainly consisted of “staycations” and that Swedish countryside attracted many people. However, our knowledge about the impact of Covid-19 on everyday life on islands, and on livelihoods and the tourism industry on islands, is still scarce. This article therefore answers the following questions: How has the pandemic influenced island communities, local livelihoods, and the tourism industry on islands?

Essay by Paulina Rytkönen, Marcus Box, Tommy Larsson Segerlind. Youssouf Merouani January 18, 2023