Visitor Monitoring

Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland collect visitation numbers of the most popular state-owned protected and hiking areas in its administration. The data is collected by many different methods. Visitor counters, for example, are used to collect information on users of trails and hiking facilities.

There were approximately 3.22 million visits to Finnish national parks in 2019, which means a 2% growth over the previous year. The impact of national park visitor spending on local communities has also increased 3.7%, currently amounting to over EUR 219 million. Growth rates have varied in different years, but the growth trend has continued for over 15 years.

The total number of visits to all Parks & Wildlife Finland’s areas and nature centres is over 8 million. All growth figures are an indication of an increase in the popularity of nature tourism and nature recreation as well as a diversification of site use.

There are many reasons for the popularity of nature and historical sites. The key is that the importance of these sites has increased in both domestic and international tourism, together with the awareness of nature’s health impacts. In addition, Metsähallitus has built routes in popular national parks during the winter season and developed services that support summer activities, which is reflected in the increase of summer tourism. In the case of historical sites, growth is the highest in the vicinity of large cities. These growth trends are expected to continue.

Read more: Visitation numbers.

Useful information on and from visitors

Parks & Wildlife Finland also gathers information on visitors and from visitors. We interview them in the terrain and at nature centres. This knowledge is used for various purposes, from increasing the experience value of those who visit
the areas to the management of the areas and to national or international comparisons. We also compile data on visitors´spending to find out the economic impacts of visits at local level.

A manual targeted at managers of Nordic and Baltic nature areas includes guidelines, recommendations and examples on visitor monitoring methodologies.