On Thursday 24 May 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry held a seminar on the wilderness economy as a business, where a report of the project funded from the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities was published. The report describes the current status and development prospects of business models related to the Finnish wilderness economy, which comprises recreational fishing, hunting, and large carnivore viewing and photography. The research project was carried out by the Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as the responsible ministry.
“The key objective of the research project was to establish an up-to-date and comprehensive picture of the role of the wilderness economy in Finland, and the project succeeded very well in this”, said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä. “The accurate view of the state and development prospects of the sector produced in the project serves as an excellent foundation for targeting future development actions.”
“The results of the project will be used at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in the preparation of population management plans and strategies for the fisheries and game animal sectors”, says Juha Niemelä, Director-General of the Natural Resources Department at the ministry. “A separate strategy process concerning recreational fisheries will be launched quite soon.”
Growth prospects in the sector
According to the study, business based on the wilderness economy has a great economic impact for Finland, and in recent years the sector has been growing. Based on the global megatrends, further growth can be expected in future.
In Mainland Finland there are almost 800 enterprises operating in wilderness tourism alone, with a total staff of almost 1,500. In addition to this, these enterprises have significant indirect impacts in the area where they operate. The wilderness economy is particularly important for sparsely populated areas where creating new jobs is in many respects a major challenge.
According to the study, enterprises that base their operations on the wilderness and natural environment should raise the added value of the products and services they offer, while also investing in exports and attracting foreign tourists to Finland. At the same time, we must secure the basic resources for the wilderness economy, i.e. viable and sustainable fish and game animal populations and a good status of Finland’s waters and forests.
Eija Kirjavainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 295 162 404, [email protected]
Mari Pohja-Mykrä, Researcher, Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki, tel. +358 41 550 8442, [email protected]
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