Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Study: Visitation sustainability encourages the responsible development of cultural environments
Climate change and other current global crises are increasing the need to assess the sustainability of tourism. A project investigating culturally and socially sustainable tourism in cultural environments has developed a triangulation model for visitation sustainability emphasising the values of sites as cultural environments. Culture can act as an intermediary and a balancing factor between the different dimensions of sustainability. It can be the driving force behind sustainable tourism, the report emphasises.
At its best, tourism can support the preservation of valuable cultural and natural environments, but it also involves challenges related to sustainability at the global, national, regional and local levels. This is highlighted in a study published on 30 April by the University of Lapland, the University of Jyväskylä, Tapio Oy and Architect’s Office Harri Hautajärvi, which explored existing practices and developed new monitoring and measurement tools to assess tourism in valuable cultural environments. Particular attention was paid to cultural and social sustainability. The study was part of the Multidisciplinary Measurements of Sustainable Tourism Growth in Cultural Environments (MAMOMI) project.
The study highlights four topical development themes aiming to safeguard the value of cultural environments, preserve their temporal layers and maintain the attractiveness of the regions. These include: 1) regularly monitoring the impacts of tourism; 2) responsibly and sustainably safeguarding the positive experiences of tourists; 3) introducing comprehensive methods for assessing the impacts of tourism; and 4) developing models of steering funding and tourism revenue towards safeguarding the values of cultural environments.
Sustainable tourism in cultural environments cannot be separated from overall sustainable development
Changes in cultural environments caused by tourism include the depletion of soil, littering, noise, and disturbing the peace of local residents in their homes and outdoors. On the other hand, tourism creates jobs and strengthens the vitality of regions and cultural environments. Tourism inevitably has many positive, but also negative, combined impacts.
There is a great deal of research into the sustainability of tourism, and various measurement methods have been developed to monitor it. Some of these methods can be used to assess the cultural and social sustainability of tourism. However, the study finds that the use of indicators is not very well established, and that they are not always used in conjunction with one another.
Measuring sustainability is about taking into account all of its different dimensions. The development of sustainable tourism in cultural environments requires diversified expertise and multidisciplinary research. Alongside the existing economic indicators, new multidisciplinary measurement methods, defined locally and regionally, are needed in order to pinpoint successes and problems, monitor changes, encourage sustainability and plan tourism sustainably for the future, for present and future generations alike.
The theoretical triangulation model for visitor sustainability produced in the research project places cultural sustainability at the centre, takes into account ecological sustainability and ties economic sustainability to the social dimension, i.e. the wellbeing of local communities and residents.
The study is part of the implementation of the 2019 Government plan for analysis, assessment and research. The publication was drawn up by Soile Veijola, Kati Kyyrö, Jukka Jokimäki, Harri Hautajärvi, Airi Matila, Salla Jutila, Helena Lonkila, Hannes Pasanen and Antti Makkonen.
Professor Soile Veijola, Multidimensional Tourism Institute, University of Lapland, tel. +358 400 169 693, soile.veijola(at)ulapland.fi
Eero Koski, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 228, firstname.lastname(at)minedu.fi
The Government’s joint analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS) produce data used to support decision-making, everyday operations and knowledge-based management. They are guided by the Government’s annual plan for analysis, assessment and research. The content of the reports published in the publication series of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities is the responsibility of the producers of the data in question and does not necessarily represent the view of the Government.