Margaryan, L., & Wall-Reinius, S. (2017). Commercializing the Unpredictable: Perspectives From Wildlife Watching Tourism Entrepreneurs in Sweden. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 1-16.
Tourism companies that offer wildlife watching experiences share a unique property—they build their business on a promise they have no guarantee of fulfilling (showing wild animals). The factor of luck becomes important, as evident in the advertisement texts of wildlife watching tours. Understanding commercialization of uncontrollable natural phenomena (wild animals) in a similarly uncertain natural setting (wilderness) is the aim of our article. In this illustrative case study, we examine wildlife watching companies in Sweden, focusing on free ranging bear, moose, wolf, roe-deer, beaver, and seal. Through interviews and participant observations with eight wildlife watching entrepreneurs, we elaborate on the following major themes that help understand specific challenges associated with these businesses: lack of control as an inherent property of wildlife watching tourism, agency and continuous negotiation of uncertainties within the operational setting, importance of guide performances and “secondary” experiences, and using uncertainty as a way of enhancing authenticity.