Vol. 1 (2007) > lrlr-2007-2

doi: 10.12942/lrlr-2007-2
Living Rev. Landscape Res. 1 (2007), 2

Outdoor Recreation and Nature Tourism: A European Perspective

1 Edinburgh College of Art, Art & Design, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9DF
2 The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Rovaniemi Research Unit, PL 16, FI-96301 Rovaniemi, Finland
3 The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, Helsinki Unit, Unioninkatu 40 A, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
4 University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning (ILEN), A-1190 Vienna, Austria
5 University of Oxford, School of Geography & Environment, OX1 3TB, UK

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Article Abstract

Recreation and nature tourism are increasingly important activities with many implications both economic and environmental. As society changes so the demands and trends for recreation and nature tourism change and develop. This poses many challenges for planners and managers of recreational areas and providers of services. This review article focuses on the situation in Europe but does not ignore some major trends and issues arising elsewhere, while much of the research can be traced back to ideas and methods developed elsewhere, such as the U.S.A. To set the scene the main social and environmental trends are presented that show how the changing nature of society feeds through in expectations and demands for recreation and nature tourism. Demographic changes, consumer behaviour and the increasingly mobile and connected lifestyles of European citizens have produced trends for outdoor recreation preferences and for broadening travel horizons. Knowing about these trends enables planners and entrepreneurs to change their recreation or tourism offer to meet these demands. However, these demands have to be seen in the context of changing pressures and sensitivities of the environments, frequently natural, in which recreation and nature tourism activities are located. Climate change is a prime example of these pressures. Many countries have developed sophisticated survey and other monitoring tools and instruments to identify demand, to monitor levels and types of activity, changing preferences and pressures on the environment. While recreation is often led by demand from people who wish to participate in certain activities there are also increasingly well recognised benefits to health and well-being from closer contact with nature. Policy makers in the health sphere are taking a keen interest in this and in the means for encouraging sedentary populations to engage with physical activity in natural environments. The evidence base for this is improving and is reviewed in this paper. Management of environments and visitors produces many conflicts which must be resolved. Recent surveys of forest recreation have enabled a European-wide pattern to be identified which will help planners and managers identify issues to be considered. The paper draws on work being undertaken as part of two EU funded Cost Actions: ``Cost E33: Forest Recreation and Nature Tourism'' and ``Cost E39: Forests, Trees and Human Health and Well-being''. These allow experts from around Europe to network and to pool research and practice.

Keywords: visitor monitoring, sustainable tourism, health and well-being, recreation trends, ecotourism, forest recreation, recreation conflicts

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Since a Living Reviews in Landscape Research article may evolve over time, please cite the access <date>, which uniquely identifies the version of the article you are referring to:

Simon Bell and Liisa Tyrväinen and Tuija Sievänen and Ulrike Pröbstl and Murray Simpson,
"Outdoor Recreation and Nature Tourism: A European Perspective",
Living Rev. Landscape Res. 1,  (2007),  2. URL (cited on <date>):

Article History

ORIGINAL http://dx.doi.org/10.12942/lrlr-2007-2
Title Outdoor Recreation and Nature Tourism: A European Perspective
Author Simon Bell / Liisa Tyrväinen / Tuija Sievänen / Ulrike Pröbstl / Murray Simpson
Date accepted 18 April 2007, published 25 June 2007


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