Development of GIS-based electronic information points

Published: 12 August 2016
Last edited: 10 November 2016
The aim of the electronic information points is channeling visitor use in order to help avoid congestion within Paanajärvi and Oulanka NPs and thus to enhance possibilities of nature experiences for visitors and to safeguard biological diversity and ecological sustainability of the NPs. Through the information points visitors can obtain easily accessible, fun and entertaining information of the possibilities for experiencing nature in Oulanka and Paanajärvi National Parks and in other areas in their vicinity, encouraging also visitation across the border. The information points also describe less visited sites, thus channelling the visitor use towards areas that can accommodate more visitors. This can effectively reduce crowding in certain areas and thus contribute towards preserving ecological values in the more crowded areas. Nine electronic, multi-lingual information points were installed: 7 in Finland and 2 in Russia. Partnerships were formed with tourism associations and businesses and local administrations in order to place the information points in well visited sites outside of National Parks, as well as in the Visitor Centres of the NPs. Emphasis was put on presenting the sites with engaging photos and fun text.

Classifications

Category
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Alliance and partnership development
Other
Channeling of visitor use
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Multi-national

Enabling factors

There was great interest in these electronic information points, and the managers of sites where information points were placed were keen to maintain them. Interest of regional and local authorities and tourism sector actors to promote natural and cultural sites of visit within their own and in neighbouring areas was important for planning and implementing the information points. The personnel of the National Parks were keen to share their photos for the information points and the Parks management was very supportive of the information points.

Lessons learned

The electronic information points provide information in a fun and entertaining way focusing more on photos than text. By keeping the text short and fun to read along with photos showing people not taking themselves seriously, the information is easily accessible to the user. The electronic information points can be updated using a network connection but they cannot be used over the Internet. They are only available on site. It might be worth to have the information points available on the Internet as well, as that is the way people seek information nowadays. This would help visitors plan their trip better and avoid crowds as they could find information on the less visited and known sites prior to their visit.