Journal of Ecotourism
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Nature tourists’ response to ecolabels in Oulanka PAN Park, Finland Riikka Puhakka & Pirkko Siikamäki
a a a b
Oulanka Research Station/Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland b
Metsähallitus, Luontopalvelut, Kuusamo, Finland Version of record first published: 18 Jan 2012.
To cite this article: Riikka Puhakka & Pirkko Siikamäki (2012): Nature tourists’ response to ecolabels in Oulanka PAN Park, Finland, Journal of Ecotourism, 11:1, 56-73 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14724049.2011.647917
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Journal of Ecotourism Vol. 11, No. 1, March 2012, 56–73
Nature tourists’ response to ecolabels in Oulanka PAN Park, Finland Riikka Puhakkaa∗ and Pirkko Siikamakia,b ¨
a Oulanka Research Station/Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; bMetsahallitus, ¨ Luontopalvelut, Kuusamo, Finland
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(Received 1 October 2010; ﬁnal version received 22 November 2011) As the awareness of environmental problems caused by tourism has increased, various international initiatives, ecolabels and certiﬁcation programmes, such as Protected Area Network (PAN) Parks in Europe, have been introduced to promote sustainable tourism. This paper examines nature tourists’ environmental values and perceptions of ecolabels: (1) how familiar are tourists with tourism ecolabels and certiﬁcations, and how do they respond to them, (2) how are tourists’ environmental attitudes related to their beliefs on tourism ecolabels and travelling preferences and (3) how is tourists’ travelling behaviour related to their awareness of ecolabels and their environmental attitudes? The research material, 273 surveys, was collected with an onsite survey for visitors to PAN Parkscertiﬁed Oulanka National Park located in northeastern Finland. Despite the low awareness, tourists expressed a positive attitude towards ecolabels and certiﬁcations as they considered them necessary and wanted to have more information about them and to increase their visibility. Few differences were found with respect to environmental attitudes, travelling behaviour or demographic characteristics. Although real market beneﬁts may not be created in the short run, the results support ecolabel development and highlight the need to combine performance (‘green’) and process (‘grey’) criteria in environmental certiﬁcations. Keywords: ecolabels; certiﬁcations; PAN Parks; environmental attitudes; nature-based tourism; sustainable tourism
Introduction As the awareness of environmental problems caused by tourism development has increased over the past few decades, sustainability has become an important policy issue in tourism. Since...