Browsing by Subject "Nature-based tourism"

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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.
  • Puhakka, Riikka (2021)
    It is increasingly recognized that interacting with nature promotes well-being and health for both adults and children. Less is known about the role of nature in people's everyday lives during emerging adulthood which means the shift from adolescence to young adulthood. This study examines university students' participation in outdoor recreation and the perceived well-being effects of nature. The qualitative data consists of thematic writings (N = 47) produced by environmental students at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in 2020. The findings show that most students have negotiated time and other constraints and maintained active participation in outdoor recreation. The findings highlight that nature can have an important role in students' well-being during a life stage loaded with stress factors, and especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature provides opportunities not only for physical activity but also for emotional and cognitive renewal, strengthening social relationships, and relieving the negative physiological effects of various stressors. Nature helps students in reflecting on their lives and even gaining a stronger sense of self. Natural settings provide a venue for students' socially shared experiences but also support retreat behaviors by enabling 'being away' and providing freedom from the pressures of student life. To prevent decline in connection with nature, special efforts should be made to support young adults' interaction with nature and gaining well-being benefits. Encouraging outdoor recreation at all life stages is needed to foster a lifelong nature connection and well-being experiences. Management implications: The study highlights the importance of hearing young adults' voices in decision-making and land-use planning to provide diverse opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism. The findings stress the value of urban green spaces in supporting students' well-being in their everyday lives. To provide a sense of extent and 'being away' from daily routines and requirements within the city, it is important to preserve slightly managed natural settings that generate opportunities to explore nature and receive multisensory and embodied experiences. Emphasis on multisensory experiences, such as hearing bird song and breathing fresh air, also stresses the importance of taking natural elements into account in all urban planning. Promoting easy access to both urban green spaces and more distant natural settings is important for young adults. Organizing outdoor activities may also help students in familiarizing themselves with green spaces and socializing with peers.