Soomaa Study tourAnne, Viki, Lili, Pirjo. Lea, Merja, Algis, Aivar is takingphoto and Meelis is already making preparations for bogrenovation workshop
What is Soomaa?• “the land of bogs”• National park established in 1933, one of 5 national parks in Estonia, 390 km2 of raised bogs, flood grasslands, forests and rivers• First written documents of the settlements from 1588, both pritave and pubic land• 5 seasons, the fifth is the flood season.• The national park belongs to Pan Parks network and have Eden 2009, RAMSAR, IBA and Natura 2000 labels
The rural tourism today• Accommodation, catering services, experiences, renting equipment, guided tours, crafts workshops,• What are their competitive advantages? They think more and more about marketing issues: websites and social media but they have no enough staff to deal with increased number of visitors.
Wooden boats (aspen)represents the identity of thearea. One log boat was theonly vehicle during floods.
Spatial planning• The area is very sensitive and the carrying capacity should be monitored and the devlopment plans should be designed and implemented for avoiding future problems.• It seems that National Park tourism management plans are written but not communicated enough among stakeholders.
Practical comments• Communication among stakeholders about goals, monitoring and needed changes.• Involvement youngsters, their parents and teachers from primary and secondary schools: outside classes and future planning.• Adults should be involved to the tourism development: study visits.• There should be agreement between schools, park authorities, municipalities and entrepreneurs
Very practical comments• Equipment to manage with mosquitos:• Garbage pins on the starting points of trails are missing (there are different viewpoints).• Safety on bog walks should be ensured, group should go together and should be controlled by responsible guide• Water should be available all things what are needed should be recommended to take with us• Are the bogwalks environmentaly friendly at all?• Going in lines on bog is not environmentally friendly but how achieve safety matters ?
Cooperation• ... with international tourism certifiction and labelling authorities.• ... between different providers: activity tourism, accommodation, very mobile catering service, bogshoes making workshops. They don´t try to provide everything themselves.• ... between National Park and providers and universities• Active participation in decision making process and in global tourism marketing: eg. Lonely Planet, Adventure Travel, WHL Travel.
Strength of the area• National parks have a lot of functions: ecological, aesthetical, tourist, recreational, educational, research, cultural. This means this should guide to more diversified products and services, that could lead the destination to more diversified target groups and markets.• Proudness of people of the area
Combining nature conservation to tourism• The work is led by local people• The spots are agreed with national park management• Workshops last from 3-5 hours• You can combine guided walk with some important work