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DU Wiki > Ämnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 4 with Magnus Bohlin > Interpretation of nature to develop a tourism product – Case study: Geopark Meteorum > Developing the Meteorum geopark in the Siljan region as a tourism attraction

Developing the Meteorum geopark in the Siljan region as a tourism attraction

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    Introduction

    Trends within nature-based tourism destinations in nature protection and tourism activities have recently shown an improved of appreciation for the non-living, natural resource elements (Council of Europe, 2004 cited by Solarska et al., 2013, p. 68):). According to Newsome (et al, 2012, p.20) there is a rapid expanding geopark movement in Europe, together with the establishment of a number of organizations which actively promote the conservation of geodiversity and geotourism.Geotourism can be defined as a form of nature-based tourism which focuses primarily on the geosystem (Gray, 2011 and Newsome and Dowling, 2010 cited by Newsome, et al. 2012, p.19). Another definition is given by Solarska et al. (2013, p. 68):

    The promotion to visitors of interpreted geosites, and their associated artefacts whether on or off site, to ensure their protection and conservation through sustainable management for the purposes of appreciation, enjoyment, education and research by future generations.”

    The geosystem contains of components of the geodiversity that have “scientific, educational, aesthetic and other human-accepted values could be proclaimed as geoheritage” (Dixon, 1996) and are “identified as having conservation significance” (Gray, 2004; Erikstad, 2008 cited by Solarska et al., 2013, p. 68). Through promotion of the geopark, by for example, tourism development, the awareness of the destination will extend, through the involvement of the local people and entrepreneurs.

    In the case of the Siljan Ring, the ambition to become a well known developed geopark is there. By gaining the status of being a geopark, the destination has great potential for becoming a popular tourism destination. As well as being acknowledged as being a worldwide meaningful site.

     

    Main target markets

    During the guest-lecture of the tourism manager Birgitta Bogren (11-12-2014), representing the Siljan DMO "Siljan Turism", the main target markets were discussed. The two current biggest target markets are active families and "Wealthy healthy older people" (WHOPs). The current Dalarna area which is the greater area covering the Siljan Ring, attracts tourists where 95% is from the domestic market (Birgitta Bogren, 11-12-2014).

     

    Challenges and possible solutions

    The example case used this paper, located in mid-Sweden, is the Siljan Ring. Information online and in print version have been reviewed. Furthermore, a visit to the site has been conducted and its attractions its attractions all on-site facilities and their conditions were observed. The attractions visited and the perceived challenges and possible solutions are listed below.

    To inform the potential and existing visitors, to reach a wider market, an informative and entertaining video should be developed to give an idea and put it on the website. Next to this by catching the interest of a wider market more awareness can be created through events, located in the area. Specific market segment can be attracted and through word of mouth marketing more people might get interested in visiting the area. People who have experienced a fulfilling and exciting experience will spread the word. Possible events can be: music, theatre or circus performances, using the environment at the Siljan lake and maybe the theme inspired by its history combined with entertaining activities.

    The viewing tower has great potential for being a tourist attraction, the lack of English information provided on the specific objects and through the whole museum makes it currently not attractive for foreigners to visit the place. The product can be improved through creating better visible boundaries for example; light effects, or accentuated boundaries through colours). Additionally, the museum could make an interactive online platform for (international) students and experts to communicate and create awareness of the place, or make it more attractive visiting the place. As well as the activities that can be undertaken at the museum, the tower should be improved in the construction and a climb wall can be attached to it to attract the active tourists. The potential obstacle that might occur is that the climbers are more interested in climbing the real precious rocks, the question is if this can or is desired to be realized.

    The major quality of this tour are the well preserved historical elements. For example, the Viking graves, Vikings and Sweden is the same as Holland and windmills, that is something tourists would like to experience. Imagining that Vikings lived on that island together with showing the village Norrboda Gammelstad Rattvik together with the boat that is still influenced by the Viking history.

    An additional improvement would be a stop at a great restaurant within the natural environment and to serve traditional Viking dishes because the tourists leaded to experience ancient times. Through involving local restaurants, providing food, dressed up people for maybe an teater act during summer which are living at the Siljan area. Possibilities for the involvement of the local community. Together with the want of most tourists to experience authenticity.

     

    Further research should be focused on observing and evaluate tourists visiting the Siljan Ring specificly on their conducted activities, experiences and possible short-comings. Potential tourists should be recognized and tourism products should be customized and marketed for the different target markets the area wants to attract. Eventually, the tourism stakeholders around the Siljan Ring and even in Dalarna area, the tourism suppliers should cooperate, and create tour packages, or a link from the Siljan Meteorium website to the Hotel booking website. This cooperation should be evaluated as well, and the possitive or negative impact should be measured. A SWOT-analysis should be done of the Siljar Ring geotourism product to analyse the current situation as well as future possibilities or threats.

     

    References:

    Birgitta Bogren (11-12-2014) Guest lecture, Dalarna University Borlänge, representing the Siljan DMO "Siljan Turism"

    Newsome, D., Dowling, R., Leung, Y.,F., (2012) The nature and management of geotourism: A case study of two established iconic geotourism destinations, Tourism Management Perspectives, Vol. 2-3 (4), p. 19–27 DOI: doi:10.1016/j.tmp.2011.12.009

    Solarska, A, Hose, T., Vasiljević, D. A.,, Mroczekd, P., Jarya, Z., Marković., S. B, Widawskia, K., (2013) Geodiversity of the loess regions in Poland: Inventory, geoconservation issues, and geotourism potential, Quaternary International, Vol. 296 (5), p.68-81, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.08.2057

    Written by Mirthe Martinius


     

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