Animals as tourism stakeholders: Huskies, reindeer, and horses working in Lapland

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Animals in tourism engage in many forms of labour, from pulling strength to speed and riding, among others (Fennell 2012). Animal bodies play an important role as a source of power or comfort and curiosity for tourists watching or touching them (Coulter 2016). Moreover, it is through the emotional and embodied engagement between animals and humans (tourists, guides) that animal-based tourism experiences are co-created (Bertella 2014; Haanpää and García-Rosell 2020). Although animals do not receive any direct financial compensation for their work, their human owners provide for their physiological needs (e.g. food, water and shelter) with part of the money paid by tourists. Through their work and symbolic value, animals generate significant economic benefits for both their human owners and the tourism destinations where their labour is performed. Following Coulter’s (2016) thoughts on interspecies solidarity, we argue that animals are not only tourism workers, but are also tourism stakeholders. We use an ethics of care framework (Connolly and Cullen 2018; Wicks, Gilbert, and Freeman 1994) to analyse animal tourism workers in Finnish Lapland, concluding that the human-animal relationship is largely based on contractual care by tourism entrepreneurs. As such, animal workers are seen in instrumental terms, but with concrete and distinct relations with their human owners. Customers, on the other hand, seem to view animal workers as having intrinsic value. Hence, we argue that animals become tourism stakeholders within this context through their close relationship to the traditional human stakeholder groups of customers and owners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring non-human work in tourism
Subtitle of host publicationFrom beasts of burden to animal ambassadors
EditorsJillian M. Rickly, Carol Kline
PublisherDe Gruyter Oldenbourg
ISBN (Electronic)9783110664058
ISBN (Print)9783110659757
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • animals
  • nonhuman
  • stakeholders
  • tourism business
  • tourism
  • responsible business
  • responsible tourism
  • sustainability
  • care
  • Ethics of Care
  • morality
  • animal workers
  • animal labour
  • stakeholder theory
  • stakeholdership

Field of science

  • Business and management
  • Tourism research


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