Metla Project 3295

Tourism and sustainable use of natural and cultural environment

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Duration: 2000-2006   Keywords: biodiversity-oriented tourism, locality, nature-based tourism, sustainable tourism, tourism, wood culture
Research project group: Distinct projects - Social impact of forests


The research project Tourism and sustainable use of natural and cultural environment examines the meaning and importance of nature, forest and local culture in tourism. The idea of sustainable tourism operates as a core approach towards tourism and tourism development. The research themes include sustainable tourism, nature conservation, biodiversity and tourism, locality and the use of natural environment, and the trends of nature-based tourism.


In this research project the progress of nature tourism and the possibilities for its development have been examined as well as the effect that nature-based tourism has on income and employment in Northern Finland. Nature-based tourism has grown a lot during the past ten years and especially its positive effect on employment in remote areas has been found substantial. However, the supply and demand of local workforce do not meet but instead a lot of workforce comes outside the area. Therefore it is important to develop collaboration between tourism industry and other livelihoods on remote areas, such as agriculture, forestry, reindeer farming and other natural sources of livelihood as well as education.

In addition, the importance of nature and wilderness experiences, as well as the mutual relations of tourists and locals, have been taken into consideration in the research project. It has been noticed that the relationship between tourists and locals has become more versatile because of the removal from remote areas and also because in many cases tourists become “part-time locals” due to owning of time-shares and holiday cottages, which in turn means that ties to locals become closer. Moreover, the concept of sustainable tourism and the relationship between tourism industry and socially sustainable forestry has been examined in the project. In this context it has been discovered that there is a need for improving collaboration between forestry and tourism sector and to develop a certain type of forest tourism. During the project a network has been created between researchers of several fields who look at nature tourism and recreation use from different perspectives.

Project leader: Tyrväinen, Liisa
The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Rovanniemi Office, PL 16, FI-96301 ROVANIEMI, FINLAND
Phone: +358 29 532 4553

Other researchers: Alamattila, Anna (2006), Hakkarainen, Maria, RO (2006), Hytönen, Marjatta, VA (2002-06), Lovén, Lasse, JO (2002-06), Mettiäinen, Ilona (2005), Naskali, Arto, RO (2002-06), Pelkonen, Juha (2006), Saarinen, Jarkko (2002-03), Sorsa, Riikka (2002), Susiluoto, Paulo (2002), Tuulentie, Seija, RO (2002-06)

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Updated 12.06.2012