Sustainable Tourism Strategy of Soomaa NP region 2009-2013

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					Sustainable Tourism Strategy
        of Soomaa NP region
                      2009-2013
Niiskete metsaribade ja suuremate tukkadega vaheldudes kulgevad
need soised niidud kumbagi kätt kaugele lõunasse ja põhja,
ühinedes all suure Öördi rabaga ja ülal Valgeraba kaudu tohutu laia Kuresooga.
Kümned kilomeetrid aina muinasmaad soode ja tasandike lindudele.
Silmitseme huviga läbi kiikri seda ülev-metsikut maastikku.

Ants Murakin “Läbi Paani riigi“ 1929.a.




Sustainable Tourism Strategy of Soomaa NP region

The strategy is developed with the help of:
Tõnu Aavasalu, Merle Adams, Kuno Erkman, Eedi Haas, Avo Hansberg,
Indrek Hein, Dagmar Hodger, Urmas Kase, Tiit Kask, Annely Kesküll,
Tõnu Kiviloo, Urve Kolk, Asso Kommer, Tiina Korts, Aimar Kuill, Ly
Laanemets, Hille Lapp, Taivo Lehesmets, Agu Leivits, Enda Link, Kerly
Luige, Mehis Luige, Liina Lõoke, Algirdas-Andrus Martsoo, Murel
Merivee, Heiki Mägi, Tarmo Männigo, Raivo Olesk, Toomas Parm, Rait
Parts, Kadi Rebassoo, Aivar Ruukel, Katrin Ruumet, Keily Rändvee,
Rein Rändvee, Jaen Soer, Heitti Sosi, Tiiu Umal

The strategy is complied by: Aivar Ruukel in cooperation with the help of
stakeholders of Soomaa NP.

Financed by: SA Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus

Approved by: Soomaa Cooperation Panel



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Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................................4
1. DESCRIPTION OF SOOMAA TOURISM REGION ...............................................................5
        1.1 Location and definition of Soomaa tourism region.....................................................................5
        1.2 Description of Soomaa tourism region........................................................................................7
        1.3 Tourism stakeholders ...............................................................................................................13
        1.4 Visitor of Soomaa tourism region..............................................................................................14
2. Strategy of development of sustainable tourism in Soomaa tourism region.............................17
        2.1 The principles of sustainable tourism .......................................................................................17
        2.2 Development prerequisites of sustainable tourism in Soomaa area ........................................17
        2.3 Principles of cooperation...........................................................................................................18
        2.4 Zonation of Soomaa tourism area.............................................................................................20
        2.5 Tourism trends and development directions............................................................................24
        2.6 Potential markets......................................................................................................................24
        2.7 The conclusions of development prerequisites of Soomaa tourism region...............................26
3. Vison, objectives and activities..................................................................................................28
        3.1 Strategic aims of tourism development....................................................................................28
        3.2 The horizontal aims...................................................................................................................28
        4. Action plan 2009 - 2013..............................................................................................................29
Annex1 Tourism Service providers in Soomaa tourism region.....................................................35
Annex 2 - Estonian ecotourism quality label Estonia – the Natural Way.....................................39
LISA 3 – Sources ..........................................................................................................................40




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INTRODUCTION
Sustainable Tourism Strategy of Soomaa National Park (NP) region is the first regional
tourism strategy concentrating that has been developed in cooperation of different tourism
stakeholders related to Soomaa NP. The strategy though hasn’t been born to an empty
place, Soomaa NP management plan (1999) covers visitor management in the national
park, on wider scale the tourism in the region has been planned with Pärnu County
recreation and tourism managemet development plan, Viljandi County strategy, the
development plans of local municipalities, State Forest Management Service Sakala
recreation area management plan, Green Riverland tourism- and recreation development
pan and strategy. All the aforementioned documents cover tourism and its development in
and around Soomaa NP then none of those documents are enough complete to cover the
whole area of Soomaa NP region and most of them do not concentrate to Soomaa NP.

The strategy was born in cooperation with regional nature conservation office (State
Nature Conservation Centre/Environmental Board), county governments (Viljandi and
Pärnu), local municipalities (Paikuse, Kõpu, Tori and Suure-Jaani), several NGO-s and
tourism entrepreneurs. In the current document the tourism stakeholders have agreed in
shared vision and development goals and have planned shared steps to achieve the
aforementioned goals.

The aim of the strategy is to support the development of sustainable tourism in the Soomaa NP
area and through that support the nature conservation goals of the national park.
The Strategy:
    • Sets the principles for sustainable tourism in the area and gives operational guidelines for
       next 5 years;
    • Gives priorities to make funding decisions and implementation of the actionplan;
    • Gives guidelines to tourism stakeholders how to develop future tourism products;
    • Creates a base document to fund sustainable tourism development in the area.

To achieve the aim the present strategy sets the zonation of Soomaa area, sets principles for
sustainable tourism, analyses the tourism potential of the area and prerequisites for developing
the tourism, also the strategy suggests actions to develop sustainable tourism in the area.
The sustainable tourism strategy of Soomaa NP region was initiated when Soomaa NP applied to
become part of PAN Parks network of best-managed wilderness protected areas in Europe. The
PAN Parks network on the present day holds national parks all over Europe, the principles of
PAN Parks combine conservation with sustainable tourism.

During the development of tourism strategy (summer 2008 – spring 2009) the main focus has
been involvement of different stakeholders. Parallelly with the compilation of the strategy the
tourism environment in the area has had several significant changes:
    • Nature conservation reform (new agency was established in february 2009);
    • The maintenance and recreation management in protected areas has become a duty of
       State Forest Management Service;
    • Soomaa Tourism NGO has been established;

                                                                                                4
   •   First tourism catalogue covering most tourism service providers in Soomaa NP area was
       published;
   •   Soomaa Cooperation Panel has taken the position to guarantee the PAN Parks process in
       Soomaa NP.



1. DESCRIPTION OF SOOMAA TOURISM REGION
1.1 Location and definition of Soomaa tourism region
Soomaa National Park is located in the Eastern part of Pärnu Depression in the border o Lower
and Higher Estonia. The author of the term „Soomaa“ is professor Teodor Lippmaa, who in
1930’ies named in his division of vegetation of Estonia the southern part of Middle Estonia as
Soomaa. Middle Estonia is a forest- and mire rich area located running from SW border to NE
border of Estonia.
Soomaa tourism development region (Look at Figure 1 ) is an area where sustainable tourism
(especially nature tourism) is strongly related to Soomaa NP and the tourist visiting the area get
„Soomaa experience“. The area is not following any formerly existing geographical divisions,
but has been agreed by the stakeholders of Soomaa tourism. The border of the region is not
absolute and does not mean that Soomaa experience can not be created outside the drawn border.
Still the area shown is the region is agreed by the all stakeholders of Soomaa tourism and
responds to the present state of Soomaa tourism environment. Hereafter the Soomaa tourism
development region is simplified as Soomaa tourism region.




                                                                                                5
   Figure 1 The location of Soomaa tourism region




Soomaa tourism region is located in Saarde, Surju, Paikuse, Tori and Vändra Municipalities in
Pärnu County and in Suure-Jaani, Pärsti and Kõpu Municipalities in Viljandi County. In
unsignificant parts the tourism region reaches also to Saarepeedi Municipality in Viljandi
County, to Sauga Municipality in Pärnu County and to Türi Municipality in Järva County, see
Drawing 2.




                                                                                           6
   Figure 2 Local municipalities (“vald” – municipality and “linn”- town)


The border of Soomaa tourism region has been drawn considering the following:
   • Soomaa NP and its landscape scale management unit (Large Soomaa);
   • Tourism development influence area (the sustainable tourism products and services relate
       to Soomaa NP);
   • Soomaa landscape region;
   • „staying“ in Pärnu and Viljandi counties“ and reaching both towns Pärnu and Viljandi;
   • Keeping the border nebulous, ie border is not absolute and it is possible to find a shared
       part outside the borders as well.



1.2 Description of Soomaa tourism region
Tourism in Soomaa tourism region has developed during a short period of time. Though the
independant destinations have already long history there has not been networking between
different destinations before. The development of the Soomaa tourism region began in 1993
when Soomaa NP was established and first possibilities were created to allow visiting the NP.
After short while the first tourism service providers appeared on the market, after which the more
coordinated visitor management began in NP. The development of visitor management was then
well lead by the process of compilation the Soomaa NP management plan. Soomaa NP oriented
tourism development in the larger region has become an focus with the current strategy.

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So far there no special broad visitor or market survey has bee conducted for Soomaa tourism
region. There has been different surveys and visitor researches conducted in Soomaa NP, but
never for the whole region on the same grounds (difference of 2 counties). In 2005 the Pärnu
College of Tartu University conducted a satisfaction survey of Soomaa NP visitors, as a result of
this research the main motivation of the visitors in Soomaa NP are the beautiful nature, new
destination and active holidays. Also the visitors mentioned that the area is suitable for short
stays and it is they have had previous good experiences from the area. Many responders
valued highly the possibility to be in the silence, get acquainted with the mires and to
participate canoe trips. As the negative side the tourist mentioned the abundance of
mosquitoes and horse-flies and foreigners missed multilingual information stands. Some
discontent was expressed towards poor road conditions and mobile network.

Still the information about Soomaa tourism region has significant gaps and the present strategy is
mostly based on the judgements of the Soomaa tourism stakeholders. In this reason a very
important focus in the action plan are the surveys and researches to fill the information gaps
about the region.

In Soomaa tourism region there are tourism service providers on several fields, many of the
service providers have their main income from other field than tourism. See Annex1 . The list in
the Annex 1 represents the information availible on internet in January 2009, not all the service
providers can be defined as sustainable. It is possible to see from the list that clearly
unsustainable tourism service providers do not dominate the market and so it makes possible to
spread the principles of sustainability in the whole region.

Nature values in Soomaa tourism region
The core nature value of Soomaa tourism region is unquestionably Soomaa NP, besides the
national park there are also other protected areas as well as unprotected but valuable nature areas
in the region. Visitor facilities are present in Navesti, Kurgja and Saarjõe landscape reserve.

Soomaa NP is the main nature tourism destination in the area and makes it a very important
tourism resource for the entrepreneurs.

Among nature values the main reasons why to visit the Soomaa tourism region:
     • Large untouched mires, among them the largest raised bog in Estonia – Kuresoo;
     • Naturally meandering rivers;
     • Regular floods on rivers;
     • Floodplain and swamp forests;
     • Floodplain meadows;
     • Vascular plants orchids, wild cladiolus, Siberian Iris;
     • Eagles, woodpeckers, owls, great snipe and corn crake.
     • Elk, wild boar, beaver and all large carnivores;

In Soomaa tourism region there are following nature tourism facilities, see Figure 3 :
      • Kuuraniidu nature trail, Soomaa NP1;
      • Ingatsi nature trail and observation tower, Soomaa NP;
1
    Herafter the abbreviations respond to following terms NP=national park, LR=landscape reserve.

                                                                                                    8
       •   Meiekose hiking trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Oksa board walk; Soomaa NP;
       •   Tõramaa nature trail and observation tower, Soomaa NP;
       •   Öördi nature trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Riisa bog trail and observation tower, Soomaa NP;
       •   Tipu village cultural heritage trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Visitor centre Beaver trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Läti observation tower, Soomaa NP
       •   Toonoja hiking trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Hüpassaare nature trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Lemmjõe keelemetsa nature trail, Soomaa NP;
       •   Sakala tee hiking trail, Kurgja LR, Navesti LR, Saarjõe LR;
       •   Saeveski everymans hut, Saarjõe LR;
       •   Vanapagana (Old Heathens) everymans hut, Saarjõe LR;
       •   Saarjõe hiking trail, Saarjõe LR;
       •   Labidakivi camping place, near Suure-Jaani;
       •   Nature around Kurgja farm, Kurgja LR


Culture-heritage values in Soomaa tourism region
The settlement in the Soomaa NP and its surroundings has interesting history, the first
settlements appeared already stoneage, all through the history the settlements in the core of the
region have remained sparse and relatively isolated. In tourism both the material and non-
material (legends and storytelling) cultural heritage pay important role.

Among culture-heritage values the main reasons why to visit Soomaa tourism region are:

       •   The flood called as fifth season and livelihood related to the fifth season;
       •   Log boat tradition (incl skills);
       •   Waterways (former „road“ to connect towns Pärnu and Viljandi both in Hansaetic
           league)
       •   Traditional farming, best example Kurgja museum, other small scale good examples
           also among entrepreneurs;
       •   Pubs next to the „winter roads“ (Oksa, Tõramaa etc)
       •   Important Historical persons C.R Jakobson, L. Koidula, A. Pulst, M.Saar,
           V.Reimann, J.Köler, Kapp brothers;
       •   Architecture values – Olustvere manor, Suure-Kõpu manor, Tori pub etc.;
       •   Handicraft and local food;
       •   Soviet heritage.




                                                                                                    9
Figure 3 locations of nature tourism facilities




                                                  10
Activities and events
In addition to natural and cultural values the main causes of tourism demand are different events
and activities. These attract visitors to visit Soomaa tourism region, create the “wow” and so help
to design Soomaa as destination.
    The main activities are:
        • Canoening on the rivers;
        • Fishing;
        • Rambling on the nature trails;
        • Snowshoeing in the bog (year round);
        • Horserides;
        • Skiing in bogs and kicksledging on the ice;
        • Educational trips.

   Regular events
      • Flooding season, so called fifth season
      • Work camps and trips organized by Soomaa Friends (Soomaa Sõprade Selts);
      • Music days of Suure-Jaani;
      • Logboat camps;
      • Nature educational events organized by Environmental Board and Forest
          Management Service;
      • Events organized by villages (in Tori, Paikuse, Vändra, Suure-Jaani, Kõpu, Kilingi-
          Nõmme and others);



Soomaa position in Estonian tourism
One of the main values of Estonia as a travel destination is wilderness represented by large
nearly untouched mires. Soomaa National Park is surely a reference to that, the position is also
assured by applying for the PAN Parks sertificate as a first freshwater wetland park.
The Enterprise Estonia (EAS) and also NGO Estonian Land tourism divide Estonia into three
tourist region, Northern, Western and Southern Estonia. Soomaa tourism region (and also
Soomaa NP) is nearly equally divided by Western and Southern Estonia. Which on one side
causes confusion, but on the other hand offers opportunities, as there are more than one tourism
centres interested in Soomaa as one of their destinations. This creates possibilities to link
different tourist routes, link and develop services and organize better marketing.




   Figure 4 tourism region by EAS                                                               11
The location on the border supports also the idea of Soomaa as wilderness capital.

The nationally promoted themes of nature tourism in Estonia are water, nature observation and
national parks. All these themes are present in Soomaa, so the marketing of the services and
products in Soomaa as well as development of tourist sector is supported by Enterprise Estonia.

The concept of Estonian internal tourism divides Estonia into five regions and under this Soomaa
is located in Jõemaa2 (Riverland). This concept creates possibilities to develop ancient water-
road and cooperate also with tourism developers in Tartu. The first event to raise awareness
about the ancient water-road is the song festival fire route that is carried on the water in 2009. In
Soomaa tourism region the fire is carried on logboats.




           Figure 5 Tourism region for internal tourism


As Soomaa NP belongs to the network of Estonian protected areas, it is a part of the protected
areas tourism niche. This creates possibilities for networking with other areas (Matsalu, Vilsandi,
Lahemaa, Karula, Nigula, Luitemaa, etc) to develop joint services and market each other.

Unique selling points of Soomaa region
Unique selling points of Soomaa region that affect the potential market to visit Soomaa and not
any other area, are:

       −    Flooding season/fifth season;
       −    Untouched wilderness areas - mires;
       −    Wildlife – carnivores, raptors etc;
       −    Sparse population, space;
       −    Silence, darkness, natural light – no light pollution;
       −    Local famous faces (Indrek Hein, Edu Kuill , Algis Martsoo and other local guides) who
            are also reason, why tourists come;
       −    Cultural heritage (suspension bridges, other bridges, traditional farming etc);
       −    Logboats – boats dug out large aspen trunks;
       −    One of Estonian five national parks, representing large wetlands;
       −    Kuresoo, largest and most well preserved bog of Estonia, highes bog slope in Europe.
2
    Do not mix this Riverland with Green Riverland initiative.

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1.3 Tourism stakeholders
Tourism stakeholders of Soomaa include different individuals and organizations, who have
special interest towards or who are affected by tourism in Soomaa. These stakeholders are:
.
   1. Local community – people living in national park as well as people in the wider region
        who are somehow involved with Soomaa and interested in it. The interest is to be
        involved into the planning of tourism in the area as well as that the tourism wouldn’t
        affect their life significantly;
   2. Local municipality governments – Paikuse, Tori, Vändra, Saarde and Surju
        municipalities from Pärnu County and Suure-Jaani, Pärsti and Kõpu municipality from
        Viljandi County. Their interest is to preserve their municipalities as enjoyable living
        environment and develop it as attractive tourist destination. Tourism is a important field
        of life in all the municipalities creating possibilities for income for people;
   3. County governments of Pärnu and Viljandi. Interest creating an attractive tourist
        destination, linking the interests of different municipalities;
   4. Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet) the administrator of the protected areas
        responsible for the favourable conservation status of protected values as well as to
        increase awareness of the conservation issues;
   5. State Forest Management Service (RMK) interest is to sustain the management of state
        forest and create recreation possibilities in it. Among other thing RMK is responsible for
        providing information for visitors of protected areas and maintenance of tourism
        infrastructure;
   6. Cooperation initiative Green Riverland (Roheline Jõemaa) is the organization
        developing local initiative in the area under Leader programme. It includes local
        municipalities, NGO-s and entrepreneurs. The whole Soomaa tourism region stays within
        the Green Riverland, and many of the activities listed in the action plan could be funded
        through the funds available from Leader programme of Green Riverland. Interest
        increasing welfare in the region;
   7. NGO Soomaa Tourism (ST) is a network of entrepreneurs and other stakeholders that
        supports the development of tourism in Soomaa region. Interest development of tourism
        sector in Soomaa region, more visitors, Soomaa image, better marketing;
   8. NGO Viljandimaa tourism – interest development of tourism sector in Viljandi County;
   9. Foundation Pärnumaa Turism - interest development of tourism sector in Pärnu
        County;
   10. Tipu Nature School is a NGO with the aim to develop a nature school from former Tipu
        schoolhouse. Interest – development of Tipu village;
   11. Village societies. In Lubjassaare, Vastemõisa, Kildu, Riisa, Sandra, Rätsepa, Tipu,
        Teesoo, Supsi ja Seruküla, Kootsi, Puiatu etc villages. Interest the development of their
        area;
   12. Estonian Logboat Society. Interest – popularization of logboats.
   13. Friends of Soomaa Interest – supporting the management of Soomaa NP;
   14. Landowners, not living on the site;
   15. Tourism entrepreneurs (See Annex1 Interest – developing their businesses, growth of
        tourist numbers;
   16. Researchers. Interest special fields of research in Soomaa region;

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    17. Hunting societies, with hunting land in Soomaa tourism region. Interest – tourism
        shouldn’t affect significantly hunting and population control activities;
    18. Fishermen
    19. Visitors Huvi – quality and diversity of services;
    20. Soomaa Cooperation Panel – Commission of different organizations that affect or are
        affected by Soomaa NP. Acts as Local PAN Parks Group. Interest – improvement of
        information exchange, development of the region, cooperation between organizations;



1.4 Visitor of Soomaa tourism region
The main visitor groups of Soomaa tourism region were counted by tourism entrepreneurs. Their
impacts to nature, local community, local economy as well as to other tourists were estimated.


   Tabel 1 Different visitors of Soomaa tourism region3
Sihtrühm                                                                     Impact
                                 Proportion       Nature         Local     Economy              Other tourists
                                                                 community
1. Students (and organized medium                 +/-            +/-             +              +/-
groups)
2. Hunters                       small            +              +/-             ++             +/-
3. Estonian companies –          large            +              +/-             ++             +/-
summer days, seminars,
events etc
4. Friends and families          large            +              +               +              +
travelling in groups
5. Fishermen                     medium           +/-            -               -              +/-
6. Backbackers (mostly           medium           +              +               +/-            +
foreigners)
7. Nature observers              small            +              +               +              +
(Birders etc)
8. Adventurers (canoeing, large                   +/-            +/-             +              +/-
ATV etc)
9. independent “partiers”        medium           -              -               +/-            -
10. Culture interested           small            +              +               +              +
tourists
11. Caravan travellers           small            +              +               +              +
12.disabled tourists             small            +              +               +              +
3
 Tegemist on turismiettevõtjate ajurünnakuna sündinud hinnanguna. Süvitsiminevate järelduste tegemiseks on
vajalik põhjalikum uuring.

                                                                                                             14
++ very positive impact
+ positive impact
+/- neutral impact
- negative impact


Impacts
   •   Nature
It makes a large difference if the tourists are aware and if they are guided. It especially concerns
student groups and adventure tourists, whose behaviour can be very much influenced. Also
awareness about protected area restrictions and code of conduct influences the behaviour a lot.
           •    The participants of organized hunting tourism are always aware and well
                managed;
           •    Problematic group are fishermen, the main concern is garbaging;
           •    From adventure tourism the canoeing is neutral, but off-road negative (even if
                kept in specially designated area);
   •   Local community
It makes a large difference if the tourists are aware and if they are guided. It especially concerns
student groups and adventure tourists, whose behaviour can be very much influenced.
           •    It is better not to allow company trips and adventurers with locals, who are not
                interested in being visited;
           •    Fishermen usually do not reckon the privacy of locals and are most problematic in
                this matter.
   •   Local economy
           •    Student groups – lower the impacts of seasonality;
           •    Hunting tourists and corporate clients are always beneficial;
           •    Backbackers are not very beneficial as are usually lonely, there could be more of
                them;
           •    Individual tourists who use rental car are relatively beneficial;
           •    Nature observes haven’t discovered Soomaa, there’s no products;
           •    Caravan travellers need special infrastructure;
           •    There’s high potential for developing services for disabled tourists.
   •   Other tourists
           •    Timing and special planning of tourists is very important;
           •    Special interest tourists have good impact, as they raise awareness of others and

                                                                                                    15
create additional attractions with their presence.




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2. Strategy of development of sustainable tourism in Soomaa tourism
    region
2.1 The principles of sustainable tourism
The term sustainable tourism can be understood differently. In the current strategy the tourism is
considered sustainable when:
    • It operates in healthy natural environment without harming it;
    • It operates self-sufficiently
    • It supports the livelihood of local community
The main value of Soomaa is its wilderness, but in the same time also the local settlement that
during thousands of years has evolved together with Soomaa is special and valuable. People in
Soomaa have adapted with the natural conditions. In the land of mires and rivers, the local
people have developed a special way of life and traditions. This sparsely populated and near-
natural area is a magnificent example of people living together with wilderness.
The Soomaa NP is designated to preserve both of these values. Tourism (in and around national
park) demands understanding the values of Soomaa and valuing and adopting the principles of
local livelihood.
The tourism products must take into account the nature and local cultural heritage, throughout
marketing, providing the services, widening the business scale or other activities related to it.




2.2 Development prerequisites of sustainable tourism in Soomaa area
The following prerequisites are needed to have sustainable tourism in Soomaa area:
SIGHTS AND VALUES
       • Soomaa tourism area depends a lot from the favourable conservation status of
          Soomaa NP and ecological wellbeing of the whole region;
       • The abundance, uniqueness, variety of the attractions of the national park and its
          surroundings (ie nature tourism facilities, cultural heritage objects, sights etc).

ACCESSIBILITY
     • Communications
           o Availability of public transport
           o Wellbeing of roads
           o Quality of communications (mobile network, postal network etc)
     • Interpretation of the values
           o Infrastructure established to see (and protect) the values
           o Availability of visitor and information centres
     • Optimality of limitations
           o Allowing people to access and see the valuable areas on the same time
               sustaining that the sensitive values are not disturbed

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                  o Equal possibilities to use the tourism facilities.
ACTIVITIES
     • The variety, uniqueness and abundance of services provided
     • The variety, uniqueness and abundance of sights available to be selected
     • The variety, abundance and quality of programs and services linking the products,
        services and sights

SUPPORTING SERVICES
     • The variety, abundance and quality of accomodation possibilities;
     • The variety, uniqueness, abundance and quality of food (restaurants, catering etc)
       available;




     Figure 6 Different experiences can
be offered on the base of same values
and combination of same activities,
access and supporting services


All the prerequisites have basic quality, to develop the area it is needed to improve the quality of
them with the same guidelines and joint standards as well as increase services offered.


2.3 Principles of cooperation
Soomaa Cooperation Panel as a coordinating unit


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Soomaa Cooperation Panel is a network of different stakeholders related to Soomaa tourism area.
The role of Soomaa Cooperation Panel is to coordinate the activities of state organizations as
well as NGO-s and entrepreneurs and direct the sustainable development in Soomaa area. The
prerequisite of the cooperation is distribution of information and understanding the other parties.
The cooperation panel meets regularly 4 times a year and if necessary also often, it gives
suggestions to solve problems and face challenges.
It also acts as Local PAN Parks group, having the role of developing the sustainable tourism in
the area.

Cooperation of tourism entrepreneurs and protected area administrator
The contract between Environmental Board and tourism entrepreneur is recommendable to all
the tourism entrepreneurs who provide their services in Soomaa NP. The contract obliges the
entrepreneur:
- follow the code of conduct of Soomaa NP as well as to inform its guest about the code;
- regularly provide visitor information;
- cooperate the visitor monitoring programmes
- regulaarselt edastama külastusandmeid

In the same time the Environmental Board is obliged to:
    - Share the available information to the entrepreneurs;
    - Provide information about the entrepreneur on the protected area website and in visitor
        centre.

How it is possible for a tourism entrepreneur to apply for PAN Parks certificate?
1. The entrepreneur has to have a valid cooperation contract with Environmental Board
2. The entrepreneur has to have a EHE sertificate (Estonian Natural Way sertificate)
3. The entrepreneur who has the aforementioned prerequirements has to apply to Soomaa
Cooperation Panel;
4. Soomaa Cooperation panel makes a decision in one of the regular meetings
5. In case of positive decision Soomaa Cooperation panel recommends the entrepreneur to PAN
Parks Foundation who signs the certificate contract

NGO Soomaa Tourism
NGO Soomaa Tourism brings together the sustainable tourism entrepreneurs in the Soomaa
tourism region, who have the shared aim to market Soomaa national park and its surroundings on
the same principles as one destination.
NGO Soomaa Tourism cooperates with the Pärnu-Viljandi region of Environmental Board, State
Forest Management Service and with Soomaa Cooperation Panel to guarantee the quality of
information and accordance with limitations as well as with the principles of regional
development.

Open communication
It is crucial to sustain the open communication and information exchange with all the stakeholers
of Soomaa tourism area. Soomaa cooperation panel can guarantee the information exchange and
regularity of cooperation, continuous communication has to be sustained by the network.



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Goals:
 • Increase the interest of the clients of sustainable tourism businesses;
 • maximize positive communications with different stakeholders;
 • deliver sustainability message to different target groups and raise their awareness on nature
     conservation and sustainable development;
 • to gain broad public involvement and support;
 • to gain maximum local involvement and support.

Principles:
  • use good written, verbal and visual communication with care and consideration;
  • give the appropriate information, to the right place, in the correct form at the right time;
  • build and maintain trust through honesty, consistency and integrity;
  • maintain a strong two way flow of information;
  • Share information on relevant events and opportunities;
  • make information available in all formats where practical and reasonable;
  • encourage openness, transparency and participation.


2.4 Zonation of Soomaa tourism area
The aim of the zonation of Soomaa tourism areais to avoid or minimize negative impacts of
tourism and increase its positive impacts.
The tourism zonation was developed with taking into account the following:
    − Protection rules of protected areas;
    − Existing tourism corridors (roads, rivers) and system of trails;
    − The tourism zonation of NP;
    − The municipal plans
    − omavalitsuste (Suur
    − Existing land use;
    − The wishes of local community
    − Developmentpotential
    −
The objective of the zonation
The zonation sets principles for following:
    - Organizing different types of tourism (avoiding contacts of non-sustainable tourism and
       sustainable tourism etc);
    - Sets priorities for land use (tourism vs habitat management etc);
    - Planning and managing the tourism intensity;
    - Guiding independent tourists and estimating the need for guiding;
    - Developing new tourism infrastructure or expanding existing facilities.




                                                                                                   20
   Figure 7 The general zonation of Soomaa tourism region


General zonation is divided into 4 zones (See Figure 4):
      • National park territory (39640 ha) – most sensitive area as well as most attractive
          part of the region. All activities regulated by the protection rules. Unsustainable fields
          of tourism not allowed. The area exposes wilderness, nature friendly lifestyle and
          sustainable businesses.
      • Other protected areas in the region (10770 ha) – small protected areas that depend
          from the wellbeing of the national park as well as the surrounding region. All
          activities regulated by the protection rules. In most cases tourism minmized.
      • The close surroundings of Soomaa NP (~52240 ha) – the NP depends a lot from its
          close surroundings as well as the mentioned area depends from NP. In this region
          usually the Soomaa experience starts. Settlements and businesses are favourable, the
          village should provide necessary supporting services. Economy has the general
          limitations set by local municipalities. The tourism businesses use Soomaa NP as
          attraction for marketing and so are willing to follow the principles of sustainability.
      • The further surroundings of Soomaa NP (~118300). Are related to Soomaa more
          loosely. It connects the Soomaa area with larger towns (Pärnu and Viljandi), with
          larger roads (Via Baltica, Tallinn-Valga). There are also many tourism entrepreneurs
          who use Soomaa NP as attraction, but in the same time there are possibilities also for
          less sustainable businesses (offroad, hunting etc). It is important that into the
          mentioned region no strongly conflicting businesses are developed.

                                                                                                 21
In the matters of services and speciality of activities the close surrounding of NP is zoned more
precisely and for that reason additional zones are designed.

    - The taboo areas of local community – private areas of local people, where rules set by
      the owners apply
    - The impact zones of tourism objects – the surroundings of existing facilities where the
      tourism has impact to the nature. In these zones it is recommended to embetter the
      existing facilities as well as develop new attractions;
    - The impact zones of water roads – the close surroundings of rivers. In these zones there
      are only designated places, where new facilities can be developed;
    - Areas that are recommended to be visited with a guide – areas naturally in the
      condition that is difficult to access, also with sensitive values;
    - Areas where the aim is to minimize the visitation – areas sensitive to disturbance,
      protection rules apply moving restrictions;
    - Restricted areas – protection rules prohibit moving into those areas.




                                                                                                22
                                                                                 23
Figure 8 The tourism zonation of NP, see also the general zonation on figure 4
2.5 Tourism trends and development directions
When designing new tourism products and services, main trends for sustainable tourism should
be beared in mind:

   1. Demographical changes. The ageing community is more interested in comfortable
      travelling, they have more time, especially in low season period, they are still active and
      interested in things that they haven’t been able to deal with before. Other important age
      group that is travelling a lot nowadays is youth, but this group is more interested in other
      kinds of products and services as well they often combine their travels with visiting
      friends and acquaintances.
   2. The change of lifestyles, expectations and needs. People are looking for products that
      create experiences. The proportion of special interest travels (experience travels,
      individual travels, hobby travels) is rising, when people are at holiday they wish to spend
      money, wish to relax, deal with their hobbies, find new places and get acquainted with
      new people, participate in culture and sports events, gain new experiences and test
      themselves. There are usually high expectations to the holidays, with the aim of getting
      out from the routine and having a quality holiday in healthy environment. There are many
      people interested in SPA and wellness products.
   3. The change of travel preferences and –duration. There’s more short travels. Instead of
      one long holiday, people wish to have many short ones. There’s big demand for weekend
      travels. The people interested in long holidays, but these are oriented usually to visiting
      many countries (pilgrimage, round the world trips etc)
   4. Fast development of tourism infrastructure (harbours, airports, highways etc) and new
      connections (continuously opening visa policy, cheap flights etc) activates tourism;
   5. Environmental awareness. More and more people are interested in the eco-friendly
      products and aware of their ecological footprint.

In conclusion the future tourist is less involved with their own individual needs (that are seen as
self evident), people look for new experiences in new cultural, spiritual and emotional
environment. Tourists do not wish to travel, but gain memories created specially for them.


2.6 Potential markets

The Estonian tourism market research conducted by Enterprise Estonia during 2005-2007,
indicates clearly that Estonia has a strong potential as a nature tourism destination in all markets
under survey. Nature as a motive to travel to Estonia, is highest among Germans, from whom
around 81% were interested in experiencing beautiful nature. In the age group of 35-54, around
95% of the people were interested in nature.
The Estonian nature tourism market research conclusions can be carried forward to Soomaa
tourism region


   Table 2 Potential markets for Soomaa tourism region


                                                                                                  24
Estonia                                                    People interested in nature, corporate clients,
                                                           adventure tourists, student groups, families,
                                                           fishermen
Germany                                                    People interested in nature, families, people
                                                           interested in culture, backpackers.
Finland                                                    Families, people interested in culture, people
                                                           interested in nature, students
Sweden                                                     People interested in nature, families, students
Latvia                                                     Families, corporate clients, people interested
                                                           in nature, students
Russia                                                     Familis, corporate clients, fishermen
Netherlands                                                Backpackers, families, adventurers, people
                                                           interested in culture
England                                                    People interested in nature observation (birds,
                                                           mammals)
Central Europe                                             People interested in nature, people interested
                                                           in nature observation (birds, mammals),
                                                           backpackers
Distant markets – Japan, USA etc                           Backpackers, people interested in nature


Finnish are most interested in beautiful nature (55%) and activities in nature (40%). Swedish
market analyses showed that 29% of the tourist who visited Estonia in 2006 were interested in
being in nature and 16% were active in nature. From the people who have intended to visit
Estonia in the future 69% are interested in being in nature and 42% are interested in activities in
nature.
In Russian market research the main interest for coming to Estonia was nature that goes for 80%
from the people who answered. Similar was also the interest towards architecture and little less
people (70%) were interested in culture and cultural events.
British market is also very much interested in nature, which means that it was the interest of 85%
from the potential visitors of Estonia, when in the same time only half from the people answered
were interested from cultural events and nightlife.
Also in case of Latvians the interest towards Estonian nature is high, 81% of the people who
answered mentioned it as a reason why they visited the country.


Target grop               Expectations4


    4
      Siin ei kajastata infomaterjalide ja teeninduse keele ootusi. Eeldatakse, et kõigil sihtgruppidel on nii sise- kui
välisriigi sihtturg.

                                                                                                                       25
People interested     Information, visitor centre, routes recommendations, maps,
in nature             camping sites, guiding.
Corporate clients     Preparedness for large groups, interesting activities, guiding,
                      catering
Adventure tourists    Guiding, lease of equipment, information, route
                      recommendations, maps, camping sites.
Student groups        Preparedness for large groups, facilities accessible with buses,
                      catering, guiding, cheap solutions, souvenirs, visitor centre
Families              Stopping places, information, route recommendations, signs,
                      camping sites, interactive activities for children, restaurants,
                      visitor centre
People interested     Information, visitor centre, maps, museums, guiding
in culture
Backpackers           Information, visitor centre, route recommendations, maps,
                      camping sites
Disabled visitors     Availability of services, accesses to facilities
Special interest      Maps, special information, camping sites
visitors


2.7 The conclusions of development prerequisites of Soomaa tourism region
The present state of the prerequisites is described briefly with SWOT analysis.

Viga: viidatud allikat ei leitud
Strengths                                         Weaknesses
    1.  Status of NP                                  1.  Similar tourism products
    2.  Rich biodiversity                             2.  Different quality of products
    3.  Attractive species (carnivores, eagles)       3.  Limited tourism related statistics
    4.  Unique flooding                               4.  Small number of people (esp with the
    5.  Good coverage of tourist facilities,              experience of providing tourism
        sustained maintenance                             services)
    6. Clusters of entrepreneurs                      5. Poor quality of connections (roads,
        (accommodation and canoeing)                      public transport, mobile network etc)
    7. Rich cultural heritage                         6. Unstable institutional situation in NP
    8. Notoriety in Estonia                               during several years
    9. Important destination of nature                7. Guiding not sufficient (number, skills
        holidays                                          etc)
    10. Small and active community                    8. Not sufficient catering possibilities
    11. Good cooperation with tourism                 9. Mosquitoes and horseflies
        information agencies                          10. Transit on the main road of the NP

                                                                                                  26
    12. Soomaa Cooperation Panel                   11. Insufficient guiding opportunities
    13. Green Riverland
Opportunities                                  Threats
    1. Increase of popularity of nature            1. The wildgrowth of tourism
        holidays and sustainable tourism           2. The instability of nature conservation
    2. Soomaa as potential PAN Park                    system
    3. Increase of quality of service and          3. The instability of municipalities
        improvement of client oriented                 governmental system
        service                                    4. The insufficient funds for
    4. Client oriented product development             improvement of tourism facilities
    5. Tipu Nature School and its potential        5. Conflicts between local community
    6. Logboat theme-park potential                    and visitors
    7. Museum product development (Tori,           6. The cooperation between tourism
        Hüpassaare, Kurgja and Lubjassaara             stakeholders does not continue
        museums)                                   7. Continuous ageing and decreasing of
    8. The cultural heritage of former water           local community
        and winter roads                           8. Improvement of roads brings more
    9. Stoneage theme                                  transit and problems related to it
    10. Universities and their interest            9. The intensive development does not
    11. Network of Soomaa “gates” and their            answer the carrying capacity of
        development                                    nature and environment
    12. Increase of internal tourism               10. The negative impact of economic low
    13. Increase of life quality                   11. Climate change, due to the changes in
                                                       environment the travelling reduces

The main strength of Soomaa area is the pure and rich nature and the wilderness in Soomaa NP.
The strength is also the sparse population that allows the visitor as well as the person living in
the area, comfortably and enjoy silence and solitude. The strength is related to one of the
important trends of the tourism development is the wish of urbanized people to get out from the
over populated urban environments into nature.
The Soomaa brand is so far mostly known in Estonia, but the status as a national park and its
potential to join PAN Parks network gives the area good opportunity to find its place also in
foreign markets. The cultural heritage resources of the area give the additional value to the
natural assets and gives the opportunity to make the tourism products more special and
interesting.
The important challenge to the area is the cooperation between the tourism stakeholders. The
coordination is today operated by the Soomaa cooperation panel, Green Riverland initiative also
supports the increase of variety and quality of tourism products and NGO Soomaa tourism brings
together all the tourism entrepreneurs.




                                                                                               27
3. Vison, objectives and activities
Overall vision of Soomaa NP:
By the year 2030 the Soomaa NP is a wilderness area with healthy environment with
natural processes and with strong self-acting local community that is valued by aware
visitors.

Vision of sustainable tourism
The Soomaa NP that belongs to the network of European wilderness areas as well its
impact region is the most popular wilderness tourism destination of the Baltic’s. Its
tourism products base on wilderness experience, uniqueness of Soomaa, cultural heritage
and quality service that are offered by the local tourism entrepreneurs and stakeholders.

Tourism is not seen as aim but as tool to guarantee sustainable development of the area.

3.1 Strategic aims of tourism development

   1. Ecological aim – the Soomaa tourism supports the nature conservation objectives of the
      Soomaa NP and does not harm the natural environment of the Soomaa tourism region
   2. Economical aim – tourism supports local livelihood with creation of jobs and
      entrepreneurships and supports the sustainability of traditional businesses.
   3. Social aim – tourism supports the welfare of local community and preservation of local
      way of life and does not harm the social environment of the area
   4. Tourism development aim – Soomaa tourism products and services have strong quality
      and the tourism entrepreneurs are competitive and sustainable.

3.2 The horizontal aims

   1. Client oriented activities – when planning activities to reach different aims, the
      satisfaction of tourists is beard in mind.
   2. Identity – Soomaa identity is preserved and developed and made more visible.
   3. Cooperation – that brings together different players in the region to increase the
      competitiveness of the region.

In the action plan the following abbreviations are used:

KKA – Environmental Board (Pärnu-Viljandi region)
EIC – Environmental Investments Centre
KOV – Local municipalities
RJK – NGO Green Riverland
RMK – State Forest Management Service
SAPT – Foundation Pärnumaa Tourism
SKK – Soomaa Cooperation Panel
SSS – NGO Friends of Soomaa

                                                                                            28
ST – NGO Soomaa tourism
VT – NGO Viljandi Tourism

4. Action plan 2009 - 2013

4.1 Ecological aim – the Soomaa tourism supports the nature conservation objectives of the
Soomaa NP and does not harm the natural environment of the Soomaa tourism region

                      Actiivity                                       Period      Responsible     Funding
                                                                                  organizations
Objective   4,1,1     Rules are sufficient to guarantee the
                      preservation of values and necessary
                      conservation methods are used
Activity    4,1,1,1   Renewal of the management plan                  2010        KKA             State Budget
Activity    4,1,1,2   Development of visitor management plan in the 2010          KKA             State Budget
                      frame of overall management plan
Activity    4,1,1,3   Development of LAC methodology                  2009        KKA , RMK       State Budget
Activity    4,1,1,4   Monitoring of visitors impacts (mobile          2009-2013   KKA RMK         EIC
                      positioning, counting system)
Activity    4,1,1,5   Cooperation agreements between                  2009-2013   KKA, RMK,     State Budget
                      Environmental Board and entrepreneurs                       entrepreneurs
Objective   4,1,2     Distribution of information is sufficient


Activity    4,1,2,1   Publishing information materials                2009-2013   RMK, KKA        State Budget
                                                                                                  EIC
Activity    4,1,2,2   Continuous update of the website                2009-2013   RMK, KKA

Activity    4,1,2,3   Distribution of conservation message through    2009-2013   RMK, KKA        State Budget
                      partners                                                                    EIC

Activity    4,1,2,4   Improvement of signposts and information        2009-2013   RMK, KKA        State Budget
                      stands                                                                      EIC
Objective   4,1,3     Tourism facilities are sufficient


Activity    4,1,3,1   The development and maintenance of the          2009-2013   RMK             State Budget,
                      facilities on the principle “distributed                                    EIC
                      concentration”
Activity    4,1,3,2   Development of communications (road             2009-2013   Road            State Budget
                      network)                                                    Administratio   EU fonds
                                                                                  n
Activity    4,1,3,3   Better exhibition of natural and cultural       2009-2011   RJK,          LEADER
                      heritage values                                             entrepreneurs
                                                                                  , MTÜd
Objective   4,1,4     Visitor centre operates as the exhibition and


                                                                                                            29
                     mediation facility of the NP as well as
                     research and monitoring centre of the NP
Activity   4,1,4,1   The fullfillment of the Visitor centre action plan 2009-2013   RMK KKA        State Budget
                                                                                                   EIC
Activity   4,1,4,2   Continuous cooperation in the fields of          2009-2013     KKA, RMK,      State Budget
                     research and monitoring in the NP with                         Universities   EIC
                     universities, research agencies, entrepreneurs
                     etc




                                                                                                           30
4.2 Economical aims- tourism creates jobs and environment for lively entrepreneurship and
supports traditional businesses
                      Objective /Activity                              Period      Responsible     Funding
                                                                                   organizations
Objective   4.2.1     Creating new jobs
Activity    4.2.1.1   Surveying the training needs of local            2009        RJK,            LEADER
                      entrepreneurs, providing necessary training                  Universities
Activity    4.2.1.2   Improvement of quality in providing products     2009-2013   Entrepreneurs LEADER
                      and services                                                 RJK
Activity    4.2.1.3   Investments to the local products and services   2009-2013   Entrepreneurs LEADER
                                                                                   RJK           EAS
                                                                                                 PRIA
Objective   4,2,2     Improvement of business environment


Activity    4.2.2.1   Involvment of local communities to the tourism 2009-2013     ST, RJK         RJK
                      business, providing information and training
Activity    4.2.2.2   Training guides                                  2009-2013   ST, LKK         EIC

Activity    4.2.2.3   Development of local souvenirs                   2009-2013   Entrepreneurs LEADER
                                                                                   st rjk
Activity    4.2.2.4   Encouraging catering and transport businesses    2009-2013   Entrepreneurs EAS
                      to enter the market
Objective   4.2.3     Supporting traditional businesses
Activity    4.2.3.1   Producing local food with small scale            2009-2013   Entrepreneurs LEADER
                      entrepreneurs, creating local “food chain”                   RJK
Activity    4.2.3.2   Involving local businesses into tourism          2009-2013   Entrepreneurs LEADER
                      products                                                     RJK
Objective   4.2.4     Supporting innovative businesses
Activity    4.2.4.1   Supporting distant working, e-solutions          2009-2013   Entrepreneurs EAS
            4.2.4.2   Development of interactive workshops             2009-2013   Entrepreneurs LEADER
                                                                                   , RJK




                                                                                                             31
4.3 Socio-cultural aim – Tourism supports the wellbeing of local communities, helps to preserve
the local livelihood and does not harm the social environment.
                      Objective /Activity                               Period      Responsible     Funding
                                                                                    organizations
Objective   4,3,1     Village centres act like information centres
Activity    4.3.1.1   Development of old Tipu school house              2009-2013   Tipu            EIC
Activity    4.3.1.2   Developing village centres network to provide     2009-2013   MTÜd            LEADER
                      variety of services
Activity    4.3.1.3   Planning, designing, feasibility studies          2009        MTÜ-d           LEADER


Objective   4.3.2     Public services are improved with the help of
                      tourism
Activity    4.3.2.1   Improvement of public transport                   2009-2013   KOV             State Budget
Activity    4.3.2.2   Improvement of internet connection                2009-2013   KOV             State Budget

Activity    4.3.2.3   Organizing a Shop-car for summer-season           2010        entrepreneurs Combined
Objective   4.3.3     Keeping Soomaa identity
Activity    4.3.3.1   Supporting traditional activities and events      2009-2013   RJK, KKA, RMK LEADER
                                                                                    entrepreneurs
                                                                                    , MTÜd
Activity    4.3.3.2   Producing local handicraft and souvenirs          2009-2013   MTÜd,         Combined
                                                                                    entrepreneurs
Activity    4.3.3.3   Protecting cultural values, developing creative   2009-2013   RJK             LEADER
                      businesses dealing with arts and crafts
Activity    4.3.3.4   Conserving the cultural heritage in landscape     2009-2013   RMK, EIC      State Budget
                                                                                    entrepreneurs EIC
Activity    4.3.3.5   Attracting national cultural heritage events to   2009-2013   RJK, Logboat    LEADER, Kulka
                      Soomaa (eg Song festival fire 2009)                           society
Activity    4.3.3.6   Creating mythological tourism trails              2009-2010   Entrepreneurs State Budget
Activity    4.3.3.7   Organizing a fair for local entrepreneurs         2010-2013                   Combined
Objective   4.3.4     The visitor centre of Soomaa is the meeting
                      place for the villages of Soomaa
Activity    4.3.4.1   Organizing events for local community             2009-2013   RMK, KKA,       State Budget
                                                                                    RJK, ST         EIC
Activity    4.3.4.2   Organizing nature events to the public about      2009-2013   RMK KKA ST      State Budget
                      the nature of Soomaa NP                                                       EIC




                                                                                                              32
4.4 Tourism development aim – The products and services in Soomaa have high quality and
entrepreneurs competitive
                      Objective /Activity                                 Period      Responsible     Funding
                                                                                      organizations
Objective   4.4.1     Products have good quality and strong
                      identity
Activity    4.4.1.1   Training about the local values to the              2009-2013   ST, RJK,      LEADER
                      entrepreneurs                                                   entrepreneurs
Activity    4.4.1.2   Study trips in Estonia                              2009-2013   ST, RJK       LEADER
                                                                                      entrepreneurs
Activity    4.4.1.3   Study tours to introduce other cooperation          2010-2013   ST, RJK, KKA    EU
                      forms in national parks (incl international trips
                      – eg to panparks).
Activity    4.4.1.4   Information days about the quality label            2009-2013   RJK , ST        LEADER
                      Estonian Natural Way
Activity    4,4,1,5   Information days about PAN parks partnership        2009-2009   KKA             State budget
Objective   4.4.2     Marketing is targeted
Activity    4.4.2.1   Development and print of different publications 2009-2013       ST, RJK, KKA,   LEADER,
                                                                                      RMK             private, EIC
Activity    4.4.2.2   Participatin in tourism fairs                       2009-2013   ST, RJK         EAS


Activity    4.4.2.3   Developing a marketing strategy                     2009-2011   ST              EAS
Activity    4.4.2.4   Creating the events calendar for Soomaa region 2009             SSS, SKK        State Budget
Activity    4.4.2.5   Introducing Soomaa to tour operators and            2009-2013   RJK, ST, RMK, Combined
                      journalists                                                     entrepreneurs
Activity    4.4.2.6   Cooperation with tour operators                     2009-2013   ST,           State Budget
                                                                                      entrepreneurs
Activity    4.4.2.7   Cooperation between tourism stakeholders            2009-2013   ST            Cooperation
                                                                                      entrepreneurs
Activity    4.4.2.8   Updating soomaa.ee homepage                         2009-2013   KKA, ST, RJK, State Budget
                                                                                      RMK,
                                                                                      entrepreneurs
Activity    4.4.2.9   Market research                                     2009-203    VT, SAPT, RJK   Combined
Activity    4.4.2.10 Producing the movie about Soomaa in different 2010               ST , SSS        Combined
                     languages
Activity    4.4.2.11 Producing travel guide about Soomaa region           2010        RJK, RMK, ST    State Budget
Objective   4.4.3     Tourism infrastructure answers the needs of
                      target groups
Activity    4.4.3.1   Cooperation between tourism information             2009-2013   RMK, ST, RJK , State Budget
                      centres                                                         KOV,
                                                                                      Olustvere



                                                                                                                33
Activity    4.4.3.2   Opening tourism information points in Tori and 2009        KOV            State Budget
                      Kõpu
Activity    4.4.3.3   Development of accommodation facilities        2009-2013   Entrepreneurs EAS PRIA


Activity    4.4.3.4   Development of catering facilities             2010-2011   Entrepreneurs EAS PRIA
Activity    4.4.3.5   Developing attractive “gates” for Soomaa       2009-2010   RJK, KOV       LEADER
Activity    4.4.3.6   Developing a logboat theme park to Soomaa in 2009-2013     entrepreneurs EAS PRIA
                      Karuskose
Activity    4.4.3.7   Development of stone age village in Paikuse    2009-2013   KOV            combined
Activity    4.4.3.8   Improvement of signs and information panels    2009-2013   RMK KKA        State Budget
                                                                                                EIC
Activity    4.4.3.9   Improvement of river-route infrastructure      2009-2013   RMK KKA       State Budget
                                                                                 entrepreneurs EIC
Objective   4.4.4     Communication and cooperation
Activity    4.4.4.1   Publicising a local newspaper                  2009-2013   SKK            State Budget
Activity    4.4.4.2   Using google group “soomaa asjalised”to share 2009-2013    SKK, ST        State Budget
                      information
Activity    4.4.4.3   Development of NGO Soomaa Tourism              2009-2013   ST             Leader
Activity    4.4.4.4   Organizing meetings of Soomaa cooperation      2009-2013   SKK            State Budget
                      panel at least 4 times a year
Activity    4.4.4.5   The round tables for tourism stakeholders in   2009-2013   ST, RJK        State Budget
                      Soomaa
Activity    4.4.4.6   Developing a database for best practices       2009-2013   ST,            Combined
                                                                                 Universities
                                                                                 VT, SAPT
Activity    4.4.4.7   Cooperating with other regions in Estonia to   2009-2013   Entrepreneurs Combined
                      create joint products                                      , ST
                                                                                 VT, SAPT
Activity    4.4.4.8   Organizing a tourism conference                2009-2013   RJK ST SKK     Combined
                                                                                 VT, SAPT
4.5 Updating the strategy
Activity    4.5.1     Renewal and update of the action plan          2009-2013   All            Combined
Activity    4.5.2     Reneweal of the strategy                       2013        All            Combined




                                                                                                          34
Annex1 Tourism Service providers in Soomaa tourism region

Tourism services and products deal with the following fields:
   •    Accomodation
   •    Catering
   •    Organizing tours in nature
   •    Seminars
   •    Transport
   •    Museums and attractions
   •    Guiding

 Activities         Organization              Products and services                        Potential BP
 Holiday centres    Vanaõue puhkekeskus       Accomodation, catering, sauna, seminars,     YES
                    vanaoue.ee                organizing tours in nature
                    Olustvere Turismikeskus   Accomodation, catering, horseback riding,    YES
                    olustvere.edu.ee/loss/    seminars
                    Ritsu talu / Veelaager    Accomodation, catering, sauna, organizing    YES
                    veelaager.ee              tours in nature
                    Junsi puhkekeskus         Accomodation, catering, sauna, organizing    YES, with
                    junsi.ee                  tours in nature                              reservation to
                                                                                           some services
                    Riisa rantso              Accomodation, catering, sauna, organizing    YES
                    riisarantso.ee            tours in nature
                    Ponka puhketalu           Accomodation, catering, seminars             YES
                    ponkaland.com
                    Klaaramanni puhkemaja     Accomodation, seminarid, catering, sauna     YES
                    klaaramanni.ee
                    Energia talu              Accomodation, catering, sauna, organizing    YES
                    energiatalu.ee            tours in nature
                    Reiu Puhkekeskus          Accomodation catering, organizing tours in   YES
                    reiu.ee                   nature
 Accomodation       Aasa puhkemaja            Accomodation,                                YES
                    hot.ee/aasapuhkemaja
                    Linnamehe puhketalu       Accomodation, seminars                       YES
                    linnamehe.ee
                    Livonia hostel            Accomodation                                 YES
                    livoniamatkad.ee
                    Hostel Soomaa             Accomodation                                 YES
                    hostelsoomaa.ee
                    Hiiekivi turismitalu      Accomodation                                 YES
                    hiiekivi.ee
                    Miki puhkemaja            Accomodation                                 YES
                    Hostel Pargi              Accomodation                                 YES

                                                                                                            35
                   web.zone.ee/pargihostel
                   Kõpu spordihoone          Accomodation                                  YES
                   Postikooli puhkemaja      Accomodation                                  YES
                   Lodja huntng house        Accomodation                                  NO
                   rmk.ee
                   Sürgavere spordihoone     Accomodation                                  YES
                   hostel s-
                   jaani.ee/syrgavere
                   Kumely kodumajutus        Accomodation                                  YES
                   kumely.ee
                   Puhkemaja Joosep          Accomodation                                  YES
                   joosep.ee
                   Vahelaane talu            Accomodation                                  YES
                   Suure-Jaani hunting       Accomodation                                  NO
                   house
                   rmk.ee
                   Männituka talu            Accomodation                                  YES
                   Kuuvalguse talu           Accomodation                                  YES
                   Sõnni talu                Accomodation                                  YES
                   Saeveski metsaonn         Accomodation                                  YES
                   rmk.ee
                   Lüiste-Alt puhketalu      Accomodation                                  YES
                   hot.ee/lyiste

Catering           Sookolli Söögituba        Catering (incl on the filed)                  YES
                   Kodukorts                 Catering                                      YES
                   kodukorts.ee
                   Kohvik Arturi Juures      Catering                                      YES
                   Kossu Pub                 Catering                                      YES
                   Helmondi Peo ja           Catering                                      YES
                   Toidutare
                   helmond.ee
                   Kilingi Villa             Catering                                      YES
                   kilingivilla.ee
organizing tours   Püstkojamatkad            River tours, bog tours, sauna                 YES
in nature          pystkojamatkad.com
                   Edela loodusmatkad        River tours, bog tours, sauna                 YES
                   loodusmatkad.ee
                   Tori matkakeskus          River tours, bog tours, sauna                 YES
                   tori.ee
                   Soomaa.com/ Karuskose     River tours, bog tours, sauna, winter tours   YES
                   soomaa.com
                   Soomaa Matkad             River tours, sauna                            YES
                   hot.ee/soomaamatkad
                   Venesauna talu            Horseback riding, excoursions with the        YES
                                             horses
                   Seikle vabaks             River tours, bog tours, sauna                 YES
                   seiklevabaks.ee
                   Jõesuu Jõematkad          River tours, bog tours, sauna                 YES
                   joematkad.ee


                                                                                                 36
    Attractions        Raja talu miniloomad           Mini-zoo, events for kids                           YES
                       Vaike talu                     Traditional farming, excoursions                    YES
                       Tähetorn Orion                 Excoursions                                         YES
                       hot.ee/tahetornorion
                       Valma-Tamme talu               Kiiking - swinging                                  YES
                       Kiiking
                       kiiking.ee/?id=77
                       Tori Hobusekasvatus            Horseback riding, excoursions with the              YES
                       torihobune.ee                  horses
                       Tori Käsitöökoda               Handicraft workshops                                YES
                       arteljee.ee
                       Haabjakoda                     LOgboat workshops                                   YES
                       haabjas.blogspot.com/
                       Madi talu                      Museum, nature trail                                YES
                       hot.ee/maditalu
                       Peebu parvsaun                 Sauna,camping site                                  YES, with
                       livonia.ee/saun                                                                    reservation to
                                                                                                          some services
                       Vihtra ATV Klubi               ATV s                                               NO
                       atvklubi.ee
    Youth camps        Tagametsa laager               Youth camps, large events                           NO, not with
                                                                                                          current
                                                                                                          products
                       Spordiseltsi Kalev             Sport camps                                         NO, not with
                       Urumarja Spordibaas                                                                current
                                                                                                          products
                       Pärnumaa Skautide ja           Scout camps                                         NO, not with
                       Gaidie Malev                                                                       current
                                                                                                          products



      Table 3 State organizations active in sustainable tourism in Soomaa region
    Activityvaldkond    Asutuse nimi                                 Haldav        Services                 Financing
                                                                     asutus
    Nature toursim      RMK                                          KKM5          Nature trails,           State
                                                                                   Observation towers,      budget, own
                                                                                   Forest huts,             funding
                                                                                   Accommodation (see
                                                                                   in table 3),
                                                                                   Events
    Museums             Hüpassaare museum                            VM6           Museum,                  State
                                                                                   excoursions              budget, own
                                                                                                            funding
                        Tori museum                                  Tori          Museum,                  Municipality
                                                                     municip       excoursions
                                                                     ality
                        Lubjassaare museum                           VM            Museum,                  State
                                                                                   excoursions, events,     budget, own
                                                                                   accomodation             funding,
5
            Environmental Ministry
6
    Viljandi County Museums

                                                                                                                           37
                                                                                   projects
                    Kapp’s museum                   SJLV7   Museum,                Municipality
                                                            excoursions
                    Seljametsa museum                       Museum,                Municipality
                                                            excoursions
                    Kurgja museum                   PM8     Museum,                State
                                                            excoursions, events,   budget, own
                                                            catering, training     funding,
                                                                                   projects
    Information     Soomaa NP visitor centre        RMK,    NP information         State
    Centres                                         KKA9                           budget, own
                                                                                   funding,
                                                                                   projects
                    Olustvere Tourism Information                                  State
                                                                                   budget, own
                                                                                   funding,
                                                                                   projects




7
  Suure-Jaani Municipality Government
8
  Ministry of Agriculture
9
         Environmental Ministry

                                                                                                  38
Annex 2 - Estonian ecotourism quality label Estonia – the Natural Way

Estonia – the Natural Way is Estonina ecotourism quality scheme for nature- and cultural
tourism products. All tourism service providers, who wish to apply for Estonia – the Natural
Way should fulfill following five general criterias:
    − Tourism service provider (operator) offers nature- and cultural experiences (tourist
       products)
    − Operator seeks for environmental standards, high quality experiences, hospitality, and
       continuous improvement of their activities
    − Operator is registred in Estonia
    − Operator follows Estonian laws, requirements and service standards
    − At least one key person of operator has taken the course in „Estonian ecotourism and
       quality label Estonia – the Natural Way“ . All staff is able to explain the principles of
       Estonia – the Natural Way

There are six criterias of Estonia – the Natural Way :
   − Accept the carring capacity of destination
   − Support local economy
   − Evironmentally sustainable business perfomance
   − Active support for conservation of nature and culture
   − Promote joy of discovery, responsibility, education and respect
   − Safety and quality

Estonia – the Natural Way is coordinated by Labelling Board, members of the board are
representing Estonian Rural Tourism Association, Estonian Ecotourism association, Estonian
Tourist Board, Village movement of Estonia, Estonian Fund for Nature.




                                                                                                   39
LISA 3 – Sources

  1. EAS Turismiarenduskeskuse turismi tootearenduse strateegia aastateks
  2008-2011. Tööversioon 2009
  2. Eesti loodusturismi pakkumise uuring . 2008
  3. Eesti Riiklik Turismiarengukava aastateks 2007–2013
  4. Eesti säästva arengu riiklik strateegia Säästev Eesti 21. 2005.
  5. Eesti ökoturismi kvaliteedimärgis EHE 2009-2013
  6. Kõpu valla planeering aastani 2015. 2. köide – Arengustrateegia. 2005
  7. Lõuna-Eesti turismi arengustrateegia aastani 2010. SA Lõuna-Eesti Turism 1999-2000
  8. Paikuse valla puhkemajanduse ja turismi arengukava 2013. 2006
  9. Pärnu maakonna puhke- ja turismimajanduse arengukavast 2009-2013. Tööversioon 2009
  10. RMK Sakala puhkeala kasutuskorralduskava. Kabli 2006
  11. Rohelise Jõemaa piirkonna starteegia 2008 -2013
  12. Rohelise Jõemaa piirkonna turismi- ja puhkemajanduse arengukava aastateks 2005 –
      2015
  13. Saarde valla arengukava aastateks 2006 – 2011
  14. Soomaa piirkonna avaldus konkursil „Eesti avastamata aarded 2009“ osalemiseks
  15. Soomaa rahvuspargi kaitsekorralduskava 2000-2010
  16. Soomaa rahvuspargi Kõrtsi-Tõramaa külastuskeskuse arengukava. 2008 Tõramaa.
  17. Soomaa rahvuspargi külastajate rahuolu uuring. Pilootprojekt. TÜ Pärnu kolledz 2005.
  18. Surju valla arengukava aastateks 2004 – 2012
  19. Suure-Jaani valla arengukava 2007 – 2015
  20. Tori valla arengukava aastateks 2004–2014
  21. Vändra Valla Arengukava 2005 – 2010
  22. Ökoturismi mõju loodusele ja kohalikule kogukonnale Soomaa rahvuspargis. Juta
      Pertel , Bakalauruse töö , Tallinna ülikool. 2006




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Description: Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy of Soomaa NP region 2009-2013 has been developed in cooperation of different tourism stakeholders related to Soomaa National Park in Estonia.