WP5 - Developing guidelines for professional activity services in tourism (pdf edition)

WP5 - Developing guidelines for professional activity services in tourism (pdf edition)

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Raija Komppula, Ossi Juvonen, Matti Boxberg

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Main Description

Developing guidelines for professional activity services in tourism using a participatory approach - a Finnish case study



Finland is well known as a nature tourism destination. The most significant strengths of Finland are the low degree of pollution, large number of forests and lakes, its wilderness, reasonable accessibility, snow and lots of activities to offer. According to travel statistics, Finland's nature is the most remarkable attraction for foreign tourists (Finnish Tourist Board 1999). It has been argued that nature-based tourism is one of the most dynamic and growing sectors of the tourism industry in terms of tourist demand. Recent studies in Australia have suggested that this sector is growing at about two to five times the pace of general tourism. (McKercher - Robbins 1998)
In Finland, the total demand and supply of nature based activity services has risen rapidly during the last ten years. Most of the so-called activity operators are located in the countryside and can be regarded as rural tourism businesses. Over 60 percent of these businesses were founded in the 1990s. The number of businesses that specialise in nature- and adventure-excursions, fishing services etc. has been increasing significantly since 1993. In Lapland and in a few skiing or other holiday centres in southern Finland there are a couple of businesses, which employ more than the owners of the business, which have a capacity to serve more than 50 customers at a time. Otherwise, almost a quarter of the nature-based activity operators do not have full-time personnel and 44 percent have less than two employees. (Aalto et al. 1999)
In order to develop the quality of the nature based activity services being offered, a national project was conducted during 2000-2002. The aim of the project was to develop voluntary guidelines for the activity operators in order to develop the quality of these services. These guidelines will be launched for the industry during 2003. The primary aim of this paper is to introduce the process through which the guidelines were created. After the description of this process we will discuss the possibilities for these guidelines to be accepted by the different stakeholders as a "theory-in-use". The theoretical background of this discussion is based on Komppula's (2000) earlier studies on stakeholders' commitment to co-operation, networks and projects.

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