||A visitor survey standardisation project was conducted in 1998-2000 in Finland. The visitor survey standardisation project was part of a large national outdoor recreation demand and supply inventory (LVVI). There are two reasons for the standardisation of visitor surveys. First, it is possible to collect comparable information from different kind of areas. Moreover, the information gathered can be combined on a national level. Secondly, standardised measurements assure long-term monitoring of behavioural changes in each studied area. The visitor survey standardisation project developed a standardised questionnaire for the most important information gathered with the help of visitor surveys, that is visitor profiles, activities, distribution of use by area, distribution of use by time, duration of the visit, expenditure of visitors and information on visitor satisfaction and motivation. It is recommended that the data collection be carried out by means of self-conducted questionnaires. The project produced a visitor survey manual and a Microsoft Excel application for computing descriptive results in order to encourage the personnel of recreation areas to conduct visitor surveys independently. The implementation of standardised visitor surveys is mainly carried out by Metsähallitus (Forest and Park Service) which manages the majority of the state-owned protected areas and national hiking areas in Finland. At the beginning of 2002, there were 33 national parks, 7 state-owned hiking areas and some 400 other protected areas. About two million recreational visits take place annually in state-owned protected areas and national hiking areas. The number of recreational visits seems to be on the increase. All together 22 different visitor surveys have been conducted in state-owned areas in the last few years. The results of some of the surveys have almost immediately been used in management and planning of the area in question. In general, there is increasing understanding and interest in the use of visitor information as a tool in decision making: services can be improved to meet visitor expectations better and scarce resources can be allocated more effectively. Along with visitor surveys, systematical visitor counts have recently been started using electronic trail and traffic counters, guest books or manual counters in several protected and recreational areas. At the moment, the next step will be to develop a national database of the collected information, and also to develop good practice in order to benefit from the information on a national level. This paper discusses, firstly, the structure and type of information that is needed from a visitor survey, secondly, how to conduct a visitor survey as a routine method in planning processes, and the framework within which visitor information can be utilised in planning and management. Thirdly, the Finnish experience of the benefits to be gained by using a standardised model for conducting visitor surveys is discussed.