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Visitor monitoring in nature areas

A manual based on experiences from the Nordic and Baltic countries

image of Visitor monitoring in nature areas

The importance of nature tourism and outdoor recreation is increasing in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Information on visitors to nature areas is needed for managing outdoor recreation to ensure quality recreation experiences, tourism development, the promotion of public health and well-being, and the efficient protection of nature and cultural heritage in a sustainable way. The purpose of this manual is to provide managers with methods, tools and ideas for learning more about outdoor recreationists and their use of nature areas. The main focus is on practical matters: how to carry out visitor counting and visitor surveys, how to report the results and how to make use of the information obtained. The manual includes guidelines, recommendations and examples on visitor monitoring methodologies applicable to nature areas in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The manual has been produced by a group of specialists on visitor monitoring methodologies in nature areas, and it represents an effort to put harmonised methods into practice in the Nordic and Baltic countries. It is a first step towards obtaining uniform visitor monitoring information, creating a common basis for statistics and databases in this part of the world.

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Key terms

In order to know what it is we are going to measure, we first need to clarify the key terms used. The terms presented below are a result of a process combining and developing previous terminology of various kinds (e.g. Hornback & Eagles, 1999, Erkkonen & Sievänen 2001, Lindhagen & Ahlström 2005b, Naturvårdsverket 2005b). This list includes only the key terms used in this manual, and should one need to go into more details, we recommend Hornback & Eagles (1999), which has good and much more detailed definitions of the related terminology.

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