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Unlocking regional potentials

Nordic experiences of natural and cultural heritage as a resource in sustainable regional development

image of Unlocking regional potentials

Ecosystem services in the Nordic countries entail a high potential with regard to regional growth and job creation. The report Unlocking regional potentials describes recent policy actions taken by the Nordic countries regarding natural and cultural heritage as a valuable resource in sustainable regional development. In addition, the report introduces examples of European and Nordic research and development activities concerning valuation of natural and cultural heritage. Nordic experiences underline the need to apply a broad view on regional development including the importance of natural and cultural heritage to human health, well-being, social inclusion and local identity. There is also a need to develop regional platforms for interaction between different interest groups, and to carry out further analyses of regional assets with regard to natural and cultural heritage.

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Socioeconomic impacts of natural and cultural heritage

In spite of an overall acceptance of the potential of natural and cultural heritage as a resource and common good, there is still a need for good arguments that would guarantee that these assets are taken into account in decision-making processes. In general, there are not that many examples of quantitative studies, facts and figures regarding job creation, and even less examples focusing specifically on regional development. However, the evolving concept of ecosystem services may in the years to come provide much new information and arguments in this regard. Of the various business branches, the tourism and travel industry is perhaps the one with the biggest potential in terms of growth and job creation.

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