A web-based survey among visitors in Hardangervidda National Park was conducted during the summer 2012 and among foreign tourists who visited Norway in 2011 and 2009. The survey identifies tourists' interests to buy a range of products related to Hardangervidda National Park and national parks in North Gudbrandsdal. Greatest willingness to pay was expressed for the boat trip with the passenger boat Fjellvåken (between Skinnarbu and Mogen on Lake Møsvatn) in Hardangervidda National Park and the Climate Park in North Gudbrandsdal.
Nature management challenges connected to nature-based tourism activities in Norwegian national parks and in their buffer zones:
The first part of the data collection was interviews with decision makers at the national level. The interviews showed that the historical influence is strong, with focus on the classical conservation values, which still largely characterize nature conservation management in Norway. Nevertheless, several recent tourism-related project initiatives are reported. The research also identified a reorientation in terms of a more holistic, integrated approach, where the nature-based tourism industry gets more attention among management.
A follow-up internet-based survey was conducted among nature management units at the national level as well as among managers linked to the three case study areas (Nasjonalparkriket, Hardangervidda National Park and Ytre Hvaler National Park). This material shows that national parks are perceived unambiguously as positive for tourism in Norway, and three out of four managers consider development of nature-based tourism in relation to the national parks as desirable. The attitudes are divided, however, regarding whether sustainable tourism should become a part of the main goal of the national parks.
Coordination between different legislation is needed to achieve integrated management within and outside protected areas. On one side, nature conservation management, according to the Norwegian Nature Diversity Act, has often been characterized by an administrative rationality, with emphasis on control and scientific knowledge. On the other side, general land use planning, according to the Norwegian Planning and Building Act, is described as dominated by a political rationality with an emphasis on industrial growth and development.
In this project, we studied how the two systems balance the interests of nature conservation and tourism development. In-depth interviews with management representatives related to Ytre Hvaler National Park and the border zones in Hvaler municipality show that the local government has largely managed to solve the coordination challenges both within and outside national park borders. Nevertheless, indistinct and sometimes contradictory beliefs exist about the border zones of the national park. While some actors see the opportunities these areas offer for local and regional development, other managers define these areas as buffer zones for nature protection where you need to be extremely careful with new measures that may threaten the nature conservation values.
Norwegian strategies for tourism development in protected areas in an international context:
Policy, legislation and planning strategies for tourism development in protected areas in New Zealand and Norway are compared, and personal interviews are undertaken with responsible national managers in the two countries.
New Zealand has had a very long and close cooperation between national authorities at different levels of government and tourism interests. National parks are the country's main tourist attractions, and tourism is New Zealand's biggest export industry. The national parks have a twofold purpose (so-called 'dual Mandate'), which means both to preserve natural resources in protected areas while stimulating visits and provide the best possible experiences for visitors. In the Norwegian context, the social and economic values are only to a limited degree addressed in legislation and management plans. However, there is an increased awareness that the national parks have dissimilar functions, and user aspects gradually get more attention due to changes in the nature managers? mindsets.
Project collaboration accross sectors:
Our case is Mimisbrunnr Climate Park on Juvflye located in the vicinity of Jotunheimen National Park (Nasjonalparkriket). Juvflye is one of the new visitor strategy?s prioritized gateways to the national park. We explore how scientific documentation, management, interpretation and tourist interests can contribute to an innovative partnership between various actors.
The collaboration network has worked well with financing from public budgets and funds. A high quality product is now offered school classes from the entire region, in addition to tourists and other interested parties. Visitor numbers could preferably have been higher; it is a challenge to increase the number o
The project aims to support the political ambition to develop a management strategy for national parks, where more emphasis is put on tourist's needs and where local tourism industry interests and local planning involvement are in focus. This complies ful ly with the present call from NATUROGNAERING, and the outlined approach is endorsed by the Norwegian Farmers' Union. The main objective of the project is to:
Identify, analyse and present the potentials for managing nature-based tourism developments in N orwegian national parks and their buffer zones.
The sub-goals are to:
A) Clarify the interests for nature-based tourism facilities and management policies/actions among potential visitors to Norwegian national parks.
B) Distinguish constraints from opp ortunities within the Norwegian nature management regime to actively support tourism development strategies.
C) Identify and assess relationships and coordination efforts between relevant planning agencies within separate jurisdictions.
D) Position the N orwegian protected area policies with regard to tourism and recreation in an international context based on comparisons with other countries.
E) Identify and examine concrete measures and actions for co-management between local stakeholders and managemen t authorities.
F) Specify management implications based on compilation of results from sub-goals A-E.
The project will be based on case studies from national park areas in Nord-Gudbrandsdalen, Hardangervidda, and Ytre Hvaler. It complements and builds o n an ongoing project on tourism development in national parks in Norway, and it employs relevant theories and methods to achieve its goals. The research team consists of recognized partners from five Norwegian institutions, in collaboration with experts f rom USA and New Zealand.
A comprehensive dissemination of results is planned in order to arrange for a wide application of the expected findings.