Postdoctoral Research Work Packages
Water Recreation, Well-being and Tourism in the Finnish Lakeland Region
This mixed methods research focuses on the experiential, economic, and societal value of blue spaces, particularly from the perspective of recreation, well-being, and tourism. This research is situated within the context of the Finnish Lakeland Region.
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Wellbeing and Wellness Tourism
Wellness Tourism refers to “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing” (Global Wellness Institute, 2023, par. 7) Wellness tourism can also be refered to as wellbeing tourism, and it can take numerous forms (Björk et al, 2011). It is practiced in locally and cultural relevant ways, in different regions of Finland (Björk et al, 2011). Research indicates that there are two main types of wellness travelers:
A primary wellness tourist is a tourist whose trip or destination selection is primarily motivated by wellness.
A secondary wellness tourist seeks to maintain or increase their wellness while traveling or participating in secondary wellness experiences while taking a trip (for leisure or business) with a different primary trip purpose not related to wellness or wellbeing.
Primary and secondary wellness tourists can also be segmented by whether they are domestic or international wellness tourists (Global Wellness Institute, 2023b).
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The Finnish Lakeland Region
The Finnish Lakeland Region is the largest of the landscape regions that subdivide the geography of Finland, and is the largest lake district in Europe.
The region stretches from Kuhmo and Kajaani in the north to Savonlinna and Tampere in the south, and was formed by glacial melt at the end of the last Ice Age.
With more water than land, Finnish Lakeland is a natural paradise, drawing local recreationists and domestic and international tourists to take advantage of the regions numerous water sport opportunities, including swimming, boating, and fishing, as well as hiking.
The Finnish Lakeland Region is home to many smaller regions, and unique destinations, such as the Jyväskylä Region located in the middle of the Lakeland region.
The Jyväskylä Region is part of the largest unbroken lake district in Europe, and is home to over 3,700 lakes the largest of which is Lake Päijänne - the longest and deepest lake in Finland.
The Finnish Lakeland Region is also home to Salpausselkä UNESCO Global Geopark area where the whole landscape has been created over millenia by water.
Work Package 1
Work Package 1 of the Water Recreation, Well-Being and Tourism Project addresses a gap in the existing research by exploring the perceived restorativeness of diverse landscapes, including bluespaces, whitespaces, greenspaces, and brown/redspaces, and the relationship between perceived restorativeness, subjective vitality, and recreation and tourism amenity value using a series of multi-sensory and augmented reality (AR) / virtual reality (VR) experiments in the recently launched UEF SenseLab.
Work Package 2
Work Package 2 of the Water Recreation, Well-Being and Tourism Project addresses a gap in the existing research by exploring the subjective well-being needs, motives, and expected benefits of water recreationists and tourists to bluespaces and whitespaces, while addressing the applied research question of whether or not these needs are currently being met by the amenities and experience offerings of the Finnish Lakeland Region, through participant observation, and surveys of recreationists and tourists accessing leisure opportunities in the Finnish Lakeland Region.
Work Package 3
Work Package 3 of the Water Recreation, Well-Being and Tourism Project addresses a gap in the existing research by exploring the subjective well-being impacts on guides, operators, and owners who facilitate four-seasons water recreation and bluespace / whitespace tourism experiences for others, while addressing the applied research question of what training, core competencies, and relationship(s) with nature / bluespaces / whitespaces they need to offer these experiences to recreationists and tourists while safeguarding their well-being, through participant observations and surveys of guides, operators, and owners working in the Finnish Lakeland Region.
Work Package 4
Work Package 4 of the Water Recreation, Well-Being and Tourism Project addresses a gap in the existing research by exploring how a) recreationists and tourists, and b) guides, operators, and owners perceive their role in safeguarding bluespaces and whitespaces as recreation and tourism infrastructure and as intrinsically valuable natural habitat through participant observations, and interviews with recreationists, tourists, guides, operators, and owners engaged in the demand and supply side of recreation and tourism experiences in bluespaces and whitespaces within the Finnish Lakeland Region.