Enhancing sustainable tourism in transboundary NPs

Published: 12 August 2016
Last edited: 10 November 2016
Nature is the basis for nature-oriented tourism and recreational use of nature, thus nature tourism must be sustainable: not threatening natural values and respecting local culture. Sustainability of activities is a precondition for use of NPs, continuity of nature-based tourism and recreational use of nature, and regional attractiveness. Assessments of ecological sustainability of tourism and recreational use of nature were conducted in Oulanka and Paanajärvi NPs by research institutions. The method ‘Limits of Acceptable Change’ was used to determine limits of ecological sustainability as part of a Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy in Oulanka NP. Waste management practices and public awareness of waste management were developed in Paanajärvi NP. A Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy (STDS) was developed in Paanajärvi NP to match the already existing one in Oulanka NP. The STDS is an instrument for attaining long-term sustainability of ecological and socio-economic development of the territory. Work on STDS enables an objective assessment of the present situation of the transboundary NPs and adjoining areas in relation to development of tourism and to develop a plan of future activities for the whole territory.

Classifications

Category
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Management planning
Other
Sustainable tourism
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Multi-national

Enabling factors

It was important that there was sufficient data collected on natural and socio-economic conditions of the National Parks in order to make an educated assessment of the sustainability of nature-based tourism and recreational use of nature. Good cooperation with stakeholders that have an impact on National Parks was vital as was mutual commitment to the importance of strategic planning of the Parks and their surrounding area. Monitoring of the factors used to determine the limits of acceptable change is essential for long-term sustainability.

Lessons learned

It is important to reserve sufficient time to build the base for cooperation and understanding of the methodology and process of developing a Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy for a National Park. It is also important to engage the stakeholders early on so that they feel that their views and opinions are taken into account. This enhances the commitment to implement the STDS by all involved. Collection of baseline data and information and monitoring of relevant factors is essential if real sustainability in the use of National Parks is to be reached. Also the limits of acceptable change should be open for revision as new data are collected. Sharing of work methodologies and information across the border in transboundary NPs improves coordinated actions that benefit NPs on both sides of the border, thus also making the management of transboundary NPs more in line. This transboundary cooperation is essential to ensure ecological sustainability, as nature knows no borders.