Editorial: Long Northern Days

Using the Sun as a Tourism Resource

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Dear readers,

As you know, COTRI is located in Hamburg in Northern Germany.

This week we can celebrate the fact that we get to enjoy days with the sun being 17 ½ hours above the horizon, with about another hour of dawn and dusk. Across Scandinavia, the midsummer nights are given more attention in comparison to Northern Germany. Even St. Petersburg has a festival to show with her White Nights. However, locals often take the abundance of light for granted. It is often only the outsiders who can identify this as a potential attraction for travelers.

Hamburg is situated at 53.5 degrees of latitude. For years I have asked locals – and my students, to guess the percentage of the World’s population living this distance from the equator. Most people’s answers vary somewhere between 10% and 20% of the World’s population, bizarrely, the actual answer is: 1%! The continents of Africa and Australia do not reach further than 45 degrees of southern latitude. Additionally, South America’s southernmost tip is exactly at 53.5 degrees latitude, precise to Hamburg. However, less than a million people live on the tip of South America. Northern Europe is inhabited by sizeable amounts of population, (due to the Gulf Stream across the Atlantic) the same cannot be said about North America and Asia, where only a mere minority of the population lives in the north.

Down on the equator, the people of Singapore receive a solid 12 hours of Sun, the sun is visible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with just a few minutes of dawn and dusk. However for citizens of Beijing, (latitude of 39.9), the maximum day length is a further 15 hours. For those living in Guangzhou receive a shorter 13 hours, similar to the inhabitants of Dubai.

Therefore, it’s not only the Scandinavian states that could increase the number of Chinese visitors during their summer season, but also any region further north of 50 degrees latitude. The possibilities of this light attraction are endless, from after-dinner hikes to golf until midnight.

Almost everything can be turned into a tourism resource. All that is needed is storyfication and the identification of the source market that will be interested. Many of whom can be found in China.

With best wishes for a peaceful and profitable week,

Prof. Dr. Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team