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.

Altogether nearly 500 questionnaire answers were gathered in different locations: Svedjehamn, Sommarö, Valsörarna main island, Rönnskär (Fäliskäret island), Mickelsörarna (Kummelskär island) and Molpehällorna. Svedjehamn and the Replot bridge were the most popular visitor attractions. A typical visitor was 45-64 years old, traveling with own family and lived somewhere nearby. Most of the visitors had been in the area before and some of them returned every year.

Almost half of those who answered lived permanently in Vaasa or Korsholm. The rest (41%) were domestic or international (14%) travelers. The international visitors came most often from Sweden. Other home countries were EU-countries, USA, Kanada and China.

Almost all (85%) of those who answered knew that Kvarken archipelago is included in the world heritage list, and as much as 71% believed to know the reason too. The world heritage status was important when planning the trip for half of those who answered. However, one fourth of those who answered told that the status did not influence their travel plans.

Nature and landscape were the most important reasons to visit Kvarken archipelago and hiking and nature observation were the most popular activities. The visitors estimated that the visit improved their health, and that these effects were worth at least 100€. Most of the visitors stayed just a couple of hours, but those who did not live in the vicinity tended to stay overnight either in the world heritage site or in its vicinity.

It was estimated that outdoor activities in the world heritage result in 3,5 million euros and 36 man-years annually, based on questions of expenditure. According to this study, the visitors were more satisfied in their visit now, than in the last study seven years ago. The regional index for visitor contentment was 4,21, compared to 3,98 in 2009. Maximal grade is 5,0. Visitors were most satisfied with cleanliness and safety, variability of landscapes, parking places, trails, signposts and fire places. Visitors gave also plenty of ideas considering further development of the service, and these suggestions encourage us to enhance the service even more.

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!