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  • The Interpretation and Visitor Survey project 2021-2024

    The interpretation project 2021-2024 continues the interpretation work carried out by the association in 2020-2021 with the Viestit teräviksi ja maailmalle (Clear messages to the world) project. The project was funded by a discretionary subsidy from the Ministry of Education and Culture for the development of cultural tourism.

    The interpretation project, implemented in 2021-2024, is comprised of two parts: Further measures for the development of presentation and communication of Finland’s World Heritage Sites, as well as visitor surveys carried out on a common basis at all sites, and the updating of sustainable tourism indicators. Two steering groups consisting of various experts were assembled to support both the interpretation work and the visitor surveys.

    The interpretation work standardises the sites’ communication

    The interpretation work started with six site-specific workshops led by Anu Nylund (Mood of Finland) in 2022. The workshops advanced the main and sub-themes of presentation and communication prepared by the sites in 2020-2021. Based on this, the visitor’s experience path during the visit was translated into concrete terms. The workshops also defined the target and interest groups of the sites’ communication. The work was influenced by the interpretation plan drawn up by the Kvarken Archipelago and the High Coast in Sweden. Beside the workshops, two joint meetings were organized between the representatives of the sites, where common guidelines were set for the interpretation work.

    The work in the workshop served as the basis for the joint interpretation plan for the sites, i.e. the World Heritage Operator’s Handbook. The handbook contains the presentation of UNESCO’s World Heritage, the main and sub-themes of the presentation of the sites, and examples of how World Heritage values can be presented in the site and in its communication in an understandable, clear and accessible way. The handbook is aimed at both the sites’ employees and the operators. The handbook will be completed in 2024.

    Visitor data is already being collected for the second time

    The standardised visitor surveys of the sites were carried out 2022-2024 in cooperation with the Nature Services of the Finnish Forest Administration. The surveys are a continuation of the first standardized visitor surveys of Finland’s World Heritage Sites carried out in 2017-2019.

    In 2022, the research was carried out in Old Rauma, in the Petäjävesi Old Church and in three points of the Struve Geodetic Arc (Oravivuori, Aavasaksa and the Alatornio Church). In 2023, research was continued in Suomenlinna, the Kvarken Archipelago, Verla and at the Sammallahdenmäki burial site.

    The last part of the project focused on updating the indicators of sustainable tourism compiled in 2019. Visitor surveys are one of the indicators used. The indicators are based on the principles of sustainable tourism created in cooperation with the Nature Services of the Finnish Forest Administration for the World Heritage Sites and for the national parks.

    Read more about the Visitor Survey:

    Visitor Survey Project for World Heritage sites in Finland 2022-2024

    Vanha Rauma, kuva Rauman kaupunki
    Suomenlinna, kuva Susanna Kekkonen
    Petäjäveden vanha kirkko, kuva Anne Kalliola