Thursday February 25, 2021

Nat’l parks see record No. of visitors in 2020

Published : 26 Jan 2021, 22:45

Updated : 27 Jan 2021, 10:25

  DF Report

A family picnic in Liesjärvi National Park. Press Release Photo: Metsähallitus by Maarit Vaahteranoksa.

The number of visitors at the state-owned protected areas and national parks increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic year of 2020.

The number of visits in the areas and parks operated by Metsähallitus was 9.2 million in last year, said Metsähallitus in a press release on Tuesday.

About four million of these visits were to national parks.

The number of visits to all nature sites increased by 17% year on year, and the number of visits to national parks increased by 23%.

Outdoor recreation and domestic tourism showed a strong increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic alone did not account for the increase in nature recreation.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many of these trends but was not the cause of them. For example, the number of first-time hikers and diverse groups enjoying nature, such as mountain bikers and young people, has increased.

The number of people hiking with children has increased, and there is an increasing number of overnight stays in nature. The popularity of typically remote or peaceful sites has also increased. A common denominator among all visitors is their desire to seek peace and enjoy the beauty of nature.

“Investing in the enjoyment of nature produces results. We have increased funding to improve hiking structures at nature sites. Well-designed hiking structures attract people to nature and protect its natural values,” said Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

Compared with the previous year, the number of visits to state-owned hiking areas also grew considerably, with an approximately total increase of 16% or more than 300,000 visitors.