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Author Puhakka, R.; Cottrell, S.P.; Siikamäki, P.,
Title Role of Oulanka PAN Park in Local Community Development in Northeastern Finland Type
Year 2008 Publication Management for Protection and Sustainable Development Abbreviated Journal
Volume MMV 4 - Proceedings Issue Pages 78-82
Keywords (down) MMV4, certification, national parks, PAN Parks, sustainable tourism
Abstract As a result of the growth of nature-based tourism, national parks have become important tourist attractions in Finland, and they have an increasing role as tools for regional development especially in the northern peripheries of the country. Meanwhile, new international initiatives to develop sustainable nature-based tourism have been introduced in Finland. PAN (Protected Area Network) Parks Foundation is a non-profit organization aimed to balance the needs of wilderness protection and community development by facilitating sustainable tourism development in European parks. This study examines the socio-cultural sustainability of tourism in Oulanka National Park perceived by local stakeholders. The central question concerns the role of PAN Parks certification in community and tourism development. Does it benefit socio-cultural development in the region, and does it have some disadvantages from the perspective of local people? The study is based on a mixed methods approach including a questionnaire (n=314) and semi-structured interviews (n=40) conducted in Oulanka region in 2007 for representatives of NGOs, tourism and other businesses, municipalities and public sector, and local residents. Findings show that most of the stakeholders have a positive attitude towards tourism development in Oulanka. The economic benefits of PAN Parks status have not yet been realized, but locals expect the benefits will grow while tourists’ familiarity with PAN Parks increases. Local residents’ knowledge of PAN Parks is still weak. Although nature-based tourism benefits community in various ways, locals also perceive disadvantages caused by the park. The biggest problems identified in the study are related to participation possibilities and contradictions with traditional subsistence economies (e.g., fishing, hunting and reindeer herding). Thus, it is essential to pay attention to the distribution of benefits and burdens of the park development – also to those which are not related to monetary interests. Increasing co-operation with local stakeholders could improve the mutual relations.
Call Number ILEN @ m.sokopp @ 918 Serial 2581
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