Koikkalainen et al [Abstract]

Drunken sled dogs: Celebration, alcohol use and teamwork in nature tourism guiding
[Full text]

Saara Koikkalainen [1]
Jarno Valkonen [2]
Heikki Huilaja [3]

Abstract: Work in the tourism industry often suffers from the blending of leisure and work as front-line service sector employees are expected to partake in the tourists’ celebrations as a routine part of their job. This article focuses on the wilderness safari business where the celebratory culture of tourism influences employee relations at work and the social use of alcohol has become a part the of team-building and recruitment practices of the field. The article is based on thematic interviews of nature tourism guides working in Finnish Lapland. The safari guides use common celebrations and bonding at the pub at the end of the long working day as a way of becoming a tight-knit and efficient team. The article highlights the dual role of alcohol in the tourism business: while the tourist drinks as a part of the fun of being on holiday, the tourism worker drinks as a part of her job, of how employee roles are divided and new guides trained into the business during the winter high-season. The metaphor of drunken sled-dogs is used to illustrate this team-building process.

Keywords: Alcohol, nature tourism guiding, teamwork, celebration, Finland

[1] University of Lapland, Finland, saara.koikkalainen@ulapland.fi
[2] University of Lapland, Finland, jarno.valkonen@ulapland.fi
[3] University of Lapland, Finland, heikki.huilaja@ulapland.fi