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Tooman Ruukel 2012 Sustainable Tourism Soomaa Nationalpark

Tooman Ruukel 2012 Sustainable Tourism Soomaa Nationalpark

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Published by Aivar Ruukel
Tooman, Heli; Ruukel, Aivar (2012). Sustainable development of a remote tourist destination. The case of Soomaa National Park, Estonia. Sloan Philip, Simons-Kaufman, Claudia; Legrand, Willy (Toim.). Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism as Motors for Development. Case studies from developing regions of the world. (276 - 295). USA: Routledge
Tooman, Heli; Ruukel, Aivar (2012). Sustainable development of a remote tourist destination. The case of Soomaa National Park, Estonia. Sloan Philip, Simons-Kaufman, Claudia; Legrand, Willy (Toim.). Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism as Motors for Development. Case studies from developing regions of the world. (276 - 295). USA: Routledge

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18
Sustainabledevelopment
of
a
remote
tourist
destination
The
case
of
Soomaa
National
Park,Estonia
Heli
Tooman* and
Aivar
Ruukel**
Introduction
Estonia
is
the smallest
and
northernmost
of
the three
Baltic
states
borderingon
Russia,
Latvia,
andFinland
(Figure
18.1).
The
Republic
of
Estonia
was
proclaimed
on24
February
1918.
Although
Estonialost
its
independence
duringthe
Second
World
War,
independence wasre-established
on
20
August
1991. On
I
May
2004
Estonia
became an
EU
member
state
and
joined
the
Schengenvisaspace
in
December
2007.In
2011
Estonia
will
probably
join
the
euro
zone.
Estonia
has a
population
of
1.34
million, of
which
Estonians
(68.77a)
makeupthe
majority
wlttle
25.67oareRussians.
The
average
population
density
is
30.9
inhabitants
per
sq
km. Tallinn
is
the
largest
city with
a
population
of
almost
404,500
while the
other
major
centres
include Tartu
(98,500),
Narva
(65,800),
and Pdrnu(43,000).
The
official
language
is
Estonian(Estonian
Ministryof
Foreign
Affairs,
201
0).
Despite
its
small
size
Estonia's
geographyand
culture are surprisingly
varied,
Abott
40Vo
of
the country
is
covered
with
natural forests; thereare
numerouslakes,
wetlands,and
swamps, and
the
3,794km
coastline are strongly
indented,
There
are
about
1500 coastalislands.
Historical
traditions,culture,
and
buildings
are
well
preserved,
and
the
medieval
old
town of
the
capital
Tallinn
is
a
LINESCO
World
Heritagesite.
The
status
of
a
UNESCO
Masterpiece
of
the Oral
and
IntangibleHeritage
of Humanity
has been awarded
to the
Kihnu
Cultural
Space
(2008),
the
Baltic
Song andDance
Celebrations(2008),
and
the
Seto
Leelo,
Seto
polyphonic
singing
tradition
(2009) (TheIntangible Heritage
List,
2010).
Volumes ofinternational tourism
are
relativelylow
(1.38
million
foreign
tour.
ists
in
2009)whereas
itsintensity
is
high
-
one
foreign
tourist
perresident
a
year,
According to
a
survey
by
the
World
EconomicForum, Estonia
won the
28th
place
for
tourism
competitiveness
among124 countries
(World
Economic
Forum,2009). Althoughthe statisticalindicatorsofEstonia's
tourism
appeargood,thero
*PiirnuCollegc,
t.Jnivorsity
ol"lirrtu.
lirtoulu
*Nl,lsturriul
tJnivclnily ol'
l,ilb
Scionooc
Sustainable
development
of
aremote
tourist
destination
277
Figure
18.1Map of Estonia
Source:Universityof
Texas
Librariesare a
number
of
bottlenecksthat may
potentially
endanger
competitiveness
and
sustainabledevelopment.The
Ministryof
Economic
Affairs
and
communications
preparesanddevelopstourism
policy
as
a
componentof
the
overalleconomic
policywith
the
aimof
ensur-ing
people'seconomic
and social
welfarethrough
stable
economicgrowth,
increased
intemationalcompetitiveness,
andsecuresustainable
development.
It
isalso respon-
sible
for
thepreparation
of draft legislation,implementationof
regulations,
coordi-
ttating
tourism
policy
and
activities,
sourcing
state
funds,
inclusionof EU
funding,
tund
communication
with
intemational
organizations(Eesti
turismipoliitika,
2003;
M
aj
andus-
j
a
kommunikatsiooniministeerium,
20
I
0).
The
Enterprise
Estonia
lroundation
(EAS)
absorbed
the
Tourist
Board
in
2000,
established
the
Tourisml)cvelopmentcentreoand
assumed
responsibility
for
the
implementation
of
the
ttutional
tourism
polioy,
Its
tasksincludedomestic and international
marketing,tttrgct market
research,
coordination of
the
network of
national
TouristInformation
('enlle
(TIC),
and
intcrnationul
cooporution(Enterprise
Estonia,
2010).
ltr
Novcmtre
r'2006,
the Estoniun Purlinrucntadoptcd
the
National
Developnrent
l)lsn
for'l'ourlsmfbr'2007-201]
(Flesti
riiklik.2006),'l'he
plnn
costs
cu
206
 
278
Heli
Toomanand
Aivar
Ruukel
million
euros
and
is mostly
financed throughthe EnterpriseEstonia
/
Estonian
Tourist
Board
from
the
EU
structuralfunds
and
the
state
budget(OECD,
2010).
The
plan
stipulates
some
specific
measures
for
the
development
of
sustainable
tourism,
such
as
promotion
of
the
implementation
of
principles
of
sustainable
development;
promotion
of
the
development
of
ecologicaltourism
products
and
promotionof
the implementation
of
environmentalmanagerial
systemsand
certification.
Estonia
is
little
known
as
a
tourism
destination,
thuspromotion
is
highly
prioritized.
The
Estonian
marketing concept'Positivelytransforming'
was
launched
in2002,
and
its
updated
version
'Positively
surprising'
waslaunched
in
2009(IntroduceEstonia,2009).
A
small country
needs
to
make a
significantly
bigger
effort
in
order
to
become
internationally
visible. Above all,its
communi-cation
has
to
be
clear
and
distinctive
since
a
big
picture
consists
of
small
details.Thus,presentingEstonia
as
a
traveldestinationincludes fourmain topics that
are
mostimportant
to the
country
-
cityholiday, culturalholiday,
nature
holiday,
and
wellness
holiday.
Each
topic is
asmall
world
in its
ownright,
though
in
some
cases
they
are
closelyintertwined.For
example,
it
is
difficult
to
approach
the
topic ofcityholidaywithoutpaying
attention
to culture,
and
explorationof
nature
certainly
promotesgoodhealth,Therefore,
it
is
important
that thepeoplewhopresentthe
topics
of
Estonian
tourism
should
be
able
to
perceivethe
fine
line
between
a
cityholiday
and
a
cultural
holiday,
as
well
as
thedifferences
between
a
nature
holiday
and
a
wellness
holiday.There is no cofirmonregionaltourism
policy
onthe regional
level
as
yet,but
regional
organizationshave a clear understanding
oftheir
developmentvisions
and
objectives.
Regional
development
plansalsoprovide
for
obligations
and
responsibilities
of
the
private
and
public
sectors
in
the development
of
sustainablo
tourism.
Thus,
tourism
is betterintegrated cross-sector-wise,
which
reduces
leak'
age
through importedtourism
services andregulates
the efficient
andsustainablo
use
of
limited
resources available.
The
development
activities
of
the
tourismorganizations
depend
onvarious aidprogrammes,and
regional
development
is
largely
project-based,
which
may become a
critical
issue
in
terms
of
long-term
and sustainable
development.On
the
positive
side,
regions
are
active
stakehold.
ers,whose
aim
is
to
putall
the
resources
to
good
use,
therebystimulating
tho
interestofboth domestic
and
incoming tourists.
Sustainable
Development
In
Estonia
The
idea
of
sustainable
use
of
resources
in
thetravel
andtourism
industry
is
not
new
in
Estonia.
Already
in
1938
the
Institute
of
Nature
Preservatioo
and
Tourism
was
established,
under
the
Ministry
of
Social
affairs,
in
order
toaddress these
issues. Since
regaining
independence
in
1991,Estonia has
been
developing
rapidly.
Harmonization
of
Estonian
legislation
with
therequiremontt
of
EU
legislation
has been
an
integralpart
of
Estonia's transition
to
market
economy,Estonia
was
on€
0f
theflrst
countrios
in
thoworld
to
adopt lE
Sustainoblo
Developmcnt
Act in
1995,
Environmental logislntion
hns
ollcn
beenchongecl
nfter
Estoniu regttinedlta independence,
Therefore,
it
is not
ensy
tobringSustainable
development
of
a
remote
tourist
destination
279oneself up
to
date
with all
the
pertinent
information.
There
is
a separate
Tourism
Law
(Turismiseadus,
2000),which
directly
addresses
sustainabledevelopment
in
tourism.
Thelegal
basis
for
sustainabledevelopment
in
Estonia
is
provided
by
the
Constitution
of
the
Republic
of
Estonia,
which
entered
into
force
in
1992.The
Act
on Sustainable
Development
was approved
in
1995.
According
tothe amend-ment
to this
act
i\
1997,long-term
plans
with
regard
to
sustainable development
are
elaborated
in
energy,
transpofi,agriculture,forestry, tourism,chemical indus-
try, building
materials,
and
food industry.Estonia's
active
pafinership
in
sustain-ableprocesseson
theglobal
level
started
at
the
IIN
Conference
onEnvironment
and Development
(Rio
Conference)
in
1992,
and
the
implementation
of
theAgenda
2l
and
Millennium
Development
Goals were renewed
at
the
UN
Summit
on Sustainable
Development
in
Johannesburg
in2002
(Sustainable
Development
in
Estonia).Estonia was
among
theeleven countries that launchedthe regional
sustainable
cooperation
process
Baltic
Agenda
in
1996.
The
main
document
of
the Agenda 21
for
the
Baltic
Sea
Regionwas
adopted
in
1998.
The
overall
aim
of
the
process
is
to
constantlyimprovethe
living
and
working
conditions
of
allthe
inhabitants
of
theBaltic
Sea
region
within
the
framework
of
sustainable
development, the
sustainable management
of the natural
resources,and
environ-mentalprotection.
The Estonian
Commission
on Sustainable Developmentwas founded
in
1996
as
an
advisory
body
to thegovemment
on
the
issues
of
sustainabledevelopment. Thetask of the
commission
is
to
analyse the
policy
of
the
state
on sustainabledevelop-
ment
and
to
makeproposals
to
the
govemment
and
to the
state
and
local
govern-ment
institutions
in
order
to
ensure
synergy amongdevelopments
in
the economy,social
affairs,
and
the environment.
The
commission
also
has
the
right
to
proposedraft
legislation,to
organize research
on
thesubject,
and
to
supewisethedevelop-ment
of
the Estonian
National
Strategyon Sustainable Development
-
SustainableEstonia
21,
which
was
approved
by
theEstonian Parliament
in
September 2005(SustainableEstonia,
2005).
Sustainable Estonia 21
(SE2l)
is
an
integral
concep-
tion, which isclearly
focused
on
the sustainability
of
long-termdevelopment
of
the
Estonian
state and society
until
the
year2030.Thegeneral
developmentgoalofthecountry is to integrate
the
requirementto
be successful
in
globa1
competi-
tion
with
a
sustainabledevelopment
model
andpreservation
of
the
traditional
values
of
Estonia.
Accordingto the
strategy, the
long-term
goals
of
the
developmentofthe
soci-
cty
are
as
follows:
e
Viability
ofthe Estonian
cultural
space.
According
tothe Constitution
of
the Republic
of
Estonia, the
state
of
Estonia shall
ensure
the
preservation
of
Estoniannatureand
culture through the
ages.
Sustainability
of
theEstoniannation
and
cultureoonstitutcs
the cornerstone
of
sustainable
development
of
Estonia.
r
Growth
of
welfrrc.
Welfnre
isdelinccl
ts
thesatisfaction
of
material,
social,
ottd
cultural
needc
of
lndividunlc,
nccompnnied
by
opportunities
for
indi-vidualcolf-rcalizctlon
end
fbr
reelizingone's
aspirntlonsandgoals;
 
280
Heli
Tooman and
Aivar
Ruukel
r
Coherent
society.Achievement
ofthe
first two
goals
will
be
possible
only
if
the benefits
from
thesegoalscan be used
by
the
majority
ofthe
population,
and
the
price
for
achieving
these
goals
isnot
destructive
for
the society
as
an
integral
organism;
o
Ecological
balance.Maintenanceofecological
balance
in
Estonian nature is
aprecondition
for
sustainability.
It
is
also Estonia's
contribution
to
globaldevelopment,
following
the
principle
thatrequires
a
balanceboth
in
mattercycles
and energy
flows
at
all
levels of the
living
environment.
The
first
reportonthe
state
of
theimplementation
of
theEstonian
National
Strategy
on
Sustainable
Development
was
compiled
and
submittedto
the
govemmentin
2007.
It
included
a
reviewof
the
principalactivities
necessary
forthe
implementationof
the
stmtegy and an analysis
of
theattainment
ofthe
objectives
set
bythe
strategy.
TheEstonian
Environmental
Strategy
2030builds upontheprinciples
of
'SustainableEstonia
2l'
and
serves as
the
basis
for
the
preparation
andrevision
of all
sector-
specificdevelopmentplans
within
the
sphere
of
the environment.
The
strategy
was
approved bythe Estonian Parliamentlll.200'7,
and
it
defines
long-term
development
trends
formaintaining
a
good
status
of the
natural environment
while
keeping in
mindthe
links
between
the environment,economic and social
spheres,and
the
overall
impact
on thenaturalenvironment
and
people.The
National
Environmental
Action
Plan
for
Estonia
for2007-2013
serves
as
the
implementation
plan
of the
Strategy.
According
to
the
ECeco-labelregulation, after
EU
accession
in2004
Estonia
had
to
develop
a system
enabling
enterprises
to
apply
for
and use
theECecolabel
-
tho
flower. According
to theenvironmentalimpact
assessmentand
the environmentmanagementsystem
act,the
competent
institution
for
issuingthe
ecolabel
in
Estonia
is
the
Information
and
Technical
Centre
of
the
Ministry
of Environment,
In
2009
the EC
ecolabel wasissued
to
only
two
Estonian
enterprises.
In
fact,
several
labelssimilar
to
the
ecolabel(FSC,
Fair
Trade,
etc.),organic
farming
labels,andvarious
self-declared
labels
(Green
Energy,
etc.)
aremuch
moro
cornmon than
the
EU
ecolabel.
The introduction
of
environment
managementsystems
is
on
the
increase.
As
of22October
2009,
there were278
enterprises
in
Estoniacertified
according
to
the
ISO
1400I:2004
standardandone according
to
the
EMAS
standard
GrN
CSD18,
2010).One
of
the
key
challenges
of
sustainable development
is
the introductionof
thc
combined conception
ofnature
asa
value
and
as a
centraldevelopment
resourco
of
society
in
thecontext
of
the overall development
of
Estonia.The overallaim
of
the maintenance
of
ecological balance
in
Estonian nature
is
to
integrate
thc
considerations
ofthe
self-regeneration capacity
ofnature
into
the
use
ofnaturo,Themain function
of
environmental
protection
is to
achieve harmonious
and
balanced management
of
resourcesand
the natural environment
in
the intercgtt
of
the
Estonian
society.
Governance
in
the
field
of
environmental
is
based
on
adequate
information,
and
forthispurpose
generalizeddata on Estoniannatur€,
the
state
ofthe
environ.ment, and
different impnct factors
nre
providod
bythe
Estonian
Environment
Informntion
Centre(Bstonian
Environmentlnformationeentro),
An
additionalobjective inf'ormation
s€rvic€
wlth
regard
to the economio,demographic,
goeial,
Sustainable
development
of
aremote
tourist
destination
28L
and
environmentalsituation,
as
well
as
thepresenttrends
in
Estonia,isprovided
by
StatisticsEstonia(StatisticsEstonia). Inter-linkagesand
the
core
set
of
sustainability indicatorson
maps
for
Europeancountries, regions,and Estoniancounties,
as
well
as
theperformanceevaluation
of
counhies, regions,
and coun-
ties
can be
found
at Dashboard
of
Sustainability(Statistics
Estonia).
Estonia's
own
experience
proves
thateconomic
groWh
and
the environmen-
tally
sustainablepath
of
development
can
beachieved
if
the
relevant
measures are
appliedboth
at
the
national
and
the
locallevels.
There
are
many
instances
ofbest
practicesand
cooperation inrural
areas
in
the
field
of
sustainable
development
all
over
Estonia,
which the
authors
of
the
presentstudy
would
like
to
share
(Sustainable
development
in
Estonia).
The
case
study
of
Soomaa
National Park
Soomaa
toarism
developmentregion
In
1957
in
a
smallpart
of
thepresent
nationalpark
-
Halliste wooded
meadow
-
was
establishedas
botanical
restriction
area.
Later
in
1981
largeraisedbogs
-
Valgeraba,
Ordi,
Kuresoo,
and
Kikepera
*
were
selected
among
the
valuable
wetlands
of
bog
conservation
areas.
Soomaa
'bog land'
NationalPark
(SNP),
which
wasestablished
in
1993,
is
theyoungest
national
park
in
Estonia.
Its
areais
390km2,
which
makes
it
the
second
largest
park
after the Lahemaa
National
Park(see
Figure
18.2).
The
first
area-based
protection
rules
were
adopted
in
1995.
Flgure
lB,2
Mup
ol'EB'toni€,
Boonaa
toutinnrclovelopmontrogion(Sustainubletourisnrrlovelopmont
strat€By
fcr
t{oomaa
N
P 2(X)q-20
I
3,
2(X)tt)

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