Browsing by Subject "National parks"

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  • Puhakka, Riikka; Pitkänen, Kati; Siikamäki, Pirkko (2017)
    Following the growth of nature-based tourism, national parks and other protected areas have become important tourist attractions and tools for regional development. Meanwhile, research on the impact of nature on human health and well-being is increasing and taken into account in park management. This study examines health and well-being benefits perceived by visitors to Finland's protected areas. It is based on survey data from five national parks and one strict nature reserve in 2013–2015: an on-site visitor survey (N = 3152) and an Internet-based health and well-being survey (N = 1054). The study indicates that visitors’ perceived benefits to their well-being were highly positive. Visits to protected areas promoted psychological, physical, and social benefits. In particular, park visits were found to provide strong and multi-faceted, long-lasting, embodied and sensory well-being experiences as well as escape from everyday life and work. Overnight visitors reported more well-being benefits than day visitors, and different types of park had different well-being benefits. The study suggests that the potential benefits of protected areas for public health are significant, emphasizing the need to integrate health and well-being arguments into the neoliberalist politics assessing the economic benefits of protected areas and their role in regional development.