The Health and Well-Being Impacts of Protected Areas in Finland

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Puhakka , R , Pitkänen , K & Siikamäki , P 2017 , ' The Health and Well-Being Impacts of Protected Areas in Finland ' , Journal of Sustainable Tourism , vol. 25 , no. 12 , pp. 1830-1847 .

Title: The Health and Well-Being Impacts of Protected Areas in Finland
Alternative title: Suojelualueiden terveys- ja hyvinvointivaikutukset Suomessa
Author: Puhakka, Riikka; Pitkänen, Kati; Siikamäki, Pirkko
Contributor organization: Environmental Sciences
Nature-Based Solutions
Date: 2017-11-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 18
Belongs to series: Journal of Sustainable Tourism
ISSN: 0966-9582
Abstract: 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.
Subject: 1172 Environmental sciences
Nature-based tourism
Protected areas
National parks
Nature-based tourism
Protected areas
National parks
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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