January 30, 2017

Finnish national parks grow in popularity

Exercise in nature, like snowshoeing in Koli National Park, has a clear positive impact on public health.
Exercise in nature, like snowshoeing in Koli National Park, has a clear positive impact on public health.
Metsähallitus / Daria Orshkina

Last year, more than 2.8 million visits were made to national parks across Finland, which is up seven per cent from the year before.

The economic impact of the visits’ expenditure in local economies increased by more than a fifth. The figures come from Metsähallitus, Finland’s State Forest Enterprise.

Metsähallitus has been developing the marketing and services of national parks together with tourism business, municipalities and regions.

“The popularity of national parks and other natural attractions continues to grow every year,” says director general Pentti Hyttinen from Metsähallitus. “It seems that Finns have rediscovered nature.”

For all 39 national parks, the local economic and employment impact of visitor expenditure amounted to almost 180 million euros and over 1 700 person-years of work. For the six state hiking areas, the respective figures were over 13 million euros and over 140 person-years of work.

In 2016, the most significant parks in terms of local economic impact were Pallas–Yllästunturi National Park, Urho Kekkonen National Park and Koli National Park.

Money isn’t the only good thing to come out of the visits to the woods.

“Visiting national parks, like other exercise in nature, has a clear positive impact on public health,” Hyttinen observes. “When you look at the economic impact of nature tourism, which depends on national parks, and the impact of visits to national parks on public health, you could say that nature increases Finland’s competitiveness.”

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