Visitor Survey

Parks and Wildlife Finland has twice conducted a visitor survey in the world heritage area in Kvarken. The first survey was accomplished in 2009, only three years after the area had been listed as one of Unescos natural world heritage sites. During summer 2017 it was time to repeat the study in order to follow up any changes in visitor profiles and opinions about the service. To be able to reliably estimate the development needs in the area the survey will be repeated regularly.

In 2017 the study covered only the nature attractions inside the world heritage area. As many as 472 visitors answered the questionnaire. Most answers were gathered In Svedjehamn, which is by far the most popular nature attraction in the area with its sightseeing tower, Saltkaret. Other sites were Sommarö fortress, Valsörarna main island, Kummelskär in Mickelsörarna islands, Fäliskäret in Rönnskären islands and the island of Molpe. Svedjehamn and Sommarö can visitors reach by car but to the other islands one needs to take a boat ride. Both Valsörarna and Mickelsörarna have regular charter boat traffic during the busiest holiday season in July.

The survey began in late May and the last answers were written in the beginning of September. The meaning was to reach different kinds of groups and individuals, in many different places, during all weekdays, and at different hours. The results will be analyzed during September and October in 2017, and thereafter the whole report will be available. The results presented here are therefore only preliminary.

The main questions in the form in 2017 were about the visitor structure (for example group size and relations between individuals in the group), activities, contentment, possible effects on well-being, influence over the local economy, and whether the world heritage status played role when choosing the destination. Most of the visitors traveled with their family and stayed just a few hours in the world heritage area. For almost all it was important to experience nature, views and spend time with the own group. Activities like walking, nature watching and getting to know the cultural heritage and world heritage were popular.

Most of the people who answered the questionnaire were overall satisfied with the quality and quantity of the service, even though many also gave feedback and development ideas. Only few reported of anything that would have annoyed them, and most of the answers revealed that people had experienced improvement in their social, mental and physical well-being. However, not everyone wanted to set any economic value for this improvement. Those who wrote down a value, seemed to choose most often 50 or 100 euro, but the answers varied between 2 and 100 000 euro.

The visitors came to the area mostly from the vicinity, including Vaasa and Korsholm. Nevertheless, it was not unusual to travel hundreds of kilometers to the world heritage area, but in these cases the visitors often had other destinations planned too. International visitors came most often from Sweden, but some came from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Romania, UK and even China and the United States.

Those who answered could also participate in a lottery. The prices were a day cruise to Mickelsörarna islands, five cloth bags with world heritage theme and five scarfs. The winners have been informed. Congratulations!