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Finland's national parks still overcrowded after pandemic peak – Eye of the Arctic

Perameli National Park in Lapland. (Everyone Aura/Iru)

See what attracts thousands of people to remote, unspoiled natural areas across the country.

Finland’s national parks and other nature reserves were hugely popular domestic travel destinations in the first two years of the 2020 and 2021 Covid pandemic, but other attractions are increasingly attracting public attention. It seems that.

Official summer visitor numbers are not yet available, but the park says traffic is down. Pirko ShikamakiRegional Director of the National Forest Management Agency Metsaharitus.

The decline in visitor numbers may have something to do with the fact that many people have traveled abroad summer vacation this year.

“Last year, the nature site was more popular than ever. We still have a lot of visitors, but it’s quieter now,” Siikamäki said.

However, Shikamaki points out that interest in national parks has been on the rise even before the coronavirus pandemic, so they are likely to continue to be popular in the future.

Back in 2021, the agency noted that the number of first-time hikers, mountain bikers and young people visiting outdoor destinations has long been on the rise, along with an increase in the number of families camping with children. I paid attention. The number of overnight stays in national parks was also steadily increasing.

Kolovesi National Park, South Savo (Juha-Pekka Inkinen/Yle)

Several parks recently added more parking spaces, including Oulanka National Park and Liesitunturi National Park. Many destinations are also upgrading their trails to accommodate more visitors.

Siikamäki said the refurbishment will serve customers and improve safety while also ensuring that the site remains unchanged despite increased visitor numbers.

Tourist Boom Due to 2020 Pandemic

According to Metsähallitus, Finnish national parks will receive more than 4 million visitors in 2020, a 23% increase compared to the previous year.

The park is so popular in 2020 that cars were lining up to enter the Oulanka National Park in Kuusamo. This year, the number of visitors to the park has increased by more than 45,000 since 2019.

Pudasjärvi’s Shote National Park in northern Ostrobothnia also saw the biggest increase in visitor numbers in 2020, well over 100,000. The number of visitors has increased by 35,000 since 2019.

Kouvola and Mäntyharju Repovesi National Parks. (Kari Saastamoinen/Il)

The Repovesi National Parks of Kouvola and Mäntyharju also saw a significant increase in visitor numbers in January 2020. He recorded nearly 6,500 visitors, nearly eight times the year before, up from around 800 in 2019.

A total of 230,000 people visited the park in 2020.

The most popular Pallas-Yllästunturi in 2021

Visitor numbers to the national parks will exceed 4 million again in 2021. Compared to the previous year, the number of visitors to the national park has increased by only 2%, but still compared to 2019, the number of visitors has increased by 25%.

Linnansaari National Park in the Finnish Lake District. (Petri Aaltonen / Ill)

The most popular destination overall was the Paras Yllästunturi National Park in Western Lapland, which was visited by around 700,000 people in 2021. Urho Kekkonen National Park, also in Lapland, was the second most visited.

Meanwhile, Nuuksio National Parks in Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Vifti near Helsinki came in third.

“Last year has shown that first-time visitors are coming to stay in the national park.” Henrik JanssonDirector of Parks & Wildlife Finland, Metsähallitus, said at the time: Park visitor numbers for 2021:

Nuuksio National Park in Southern Finland. (Benjamin Suomela / Ill)

North attracts the most visitors

Visitor growth in 2021 was uneven across Finland, but parks in the northeast and Lapland saw the biggest increases.

For example, the Repovesi National Park in Kouvola in southern Finland saw nearly 60,000 fewer visitors than in the previous year, from 230,000 to 173,000.

According to the agency, visits to parks in the north have increased thanks to an overall increase in domestic tourism and remote work.

Visitor numbers to parks in the South declined from 2020 to 2021, but the numbers were still higher than in pre-pandemic years.

Lapland will still be popular in 2021

According to metsaharritus, in 2021, the number of visitors increased not only in northeast Finland, but also in Lapland.

Oulanka National Park in northeastern Finland is the fifth most popular hiker destination in the country, with over 253,000 visitors. Syöte is his second most popular park in northeastern Finland, with around 118,000 visitors.

Of all the national parks in Northern Ostrobothnia, Rokua recorded the largest increase, with visitor numbers tripled to 63,000 from the previous year.

Riesitunturi National Park in Posio, Lapland, Finland, received a third more visitors than the previous year.

A large nature reserve, Oulu’s Sanguinjoki will receive 73,000 visitors in 2021.

Lapland’s national parks saw the most visitor growth in 2021 and 2022, while Pelameli National Park attracted just 6,000 visitors in 2021.

Metsaharitus has been monitoring visitor numbers to the national park since 2001 using visitor counters placed on the terrain.

Online services for people on the move in nature were also used more than in the previous year.individual users of national Toiseen palveluun) The service grew 49% to 3.2 million users.