Nature for All - LUKA project

Kuva
LUKA_eng
Equality in nature tourism

Approximately 27% of Europeans require accessible tourism services. There are about half a million people in Finland with permanently reduced mobility. They form a group for whom the accessibility of nature is not just a nice addition, but a prerequisite for participation. There is also an ever-growing number of senior travellers and families with children who benefit greatly from accessible services. Even though accessibility is a question of equality, unobstructed access to nature tourism is not yet widely considered to have a competitive advantage. There are accessible nature destinations, but they are often individual sections of a route or single destinations.

The aim of the Nature for All project is to develop the accessibility of the nature tourism destinations in the Päijät and Kanta-Häme regions. One of the project’s focus areas is to promote equality for people with disabilities, as well as help companies in the tourism industry perceive travellers needing accessible services to be more of a potential target audience for nature tourism.

Joined-up services start from information. For example, a person requiring accessible nature tourism services needs to be able to find information on which destinations and areas are suitable and how to get to them. Equality is also achieved when disabled people or those with reduced mobility are not restricted to joining organised trips by disability groups but can, whenever they wish, visit nature sites as independently as possible.

In order for the above-mentioned issues to be realised, nature tourism service providers will need to be able to design, produce, market, and implement services targeted at groups requiring special assistance.

The LUKA project is taking place at Evon hiking area at Kanta- ja Päijät-Häme region, Torronsuo National Park, Liesjärvi National Park and Päijänne fishing areas.

At the beginning of the project, the existing structures, routes and services in these areas will be mapped, after which it will be possible to assess where there are opportunities to build accessible hiking routes and excursion destinations. Based on the findings, workshops will be set up to develop new accessibility services. Product concepts will be piloted with companies in the nature tourism industry and potential customers of the services. The concept should be extendable and distributable so that they can be adopted across the country.

The concepts will need to cover the entire service content of nature tourism as a single, coherent offering, starting from the accessibility of advance information to the successful implementation of accessible nature trails and excursions. The objective is that tourism companies and regional tourism organisations can benefit from these concepts when designing unobstructed, accessible nature tourism services.

Nature for All (LUKA) is a joint project between LAB University of Applied Sciences, The Finnish Paralympic Committee and Metsähallitus Nature Services. The project is funded from the Häme ELY Centre’s rural program (ELY - Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment).
Project period
-
Project state
Finished
Project area
National
Project funding
Maaseuturahasto 2014-2020 Flat rate
LAB role
Lead partner
Unit
Hyvinvointi
Project focus area
Health
Project managers