The Association of World Heritage Sites in Finland worked on the indicators of sustainable tourism during the autumn of 2019. The project funding followed the discretionary subsidy issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture for the development of the Government’s Tourism 4.0 project.
The indicators of sustainable tourism are based on the shared principles created in 2016 in cooperation with the Nature Services of the Finnish Forest Administration (Metsähallitus) for the World Heritage Sites and for the national parks. The sustainability of the World Heritage Sites is assessed by using the Finnish Forest Administration’s definition of the limits of acceptable change.
For each indicator, the prevailing current state has been identified, and the target states have been defined for developing each site’s operations. The limits of acceptable change have been set for the various components of sustainability, i.e. the range within which the changes resulting from the operations should remain. The range is affected by the current state and the goals, but also by the resources available at the site. In addition, measures have been defined for each indicator for internal use at the site in case the limit values change, and the parties responsible for them have been determined.
The database collected in the association’s previous projects, such as visitor survey data, and the statistical data collected by the sites are used when assessing sustainability. Indicator-specific sustainability is classified on a scale of 1-5 (1=achieved completely, 5=not achieved).
The project comprised five workshops in Suomenlinna, Verla, Jyväskylä and Rauma in cooperation with experts in sustainable tourism from the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. The Kvarken Archipelago’s indicators are created by the Finnish Forest Administration.
The representatives of the sites and of the Nature Services of the Finnish Forest Administration as well as other stakeholders gathered in a joint meeting to discuss promoting the work on sustainable tourism at the end of 2019.