Finnish micro entrepreneurs' perceptions of sustainability issues in rural tourism
Blinnikka, Petra; Härkönen, Anja; Väisänen, Hanna-Maija; Tunkkari-Eskelinen, Minna (2014)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Blinnikka P., Härkönen A., Väisänen H., Tunkkari-Eskelinen M., (2014). Finnish micro entrepreneurs' perceptions of sustainability issues in rural tourism. , International Conference on Rural Tourism and Regional Development : Proceedings - Rural Tourism as a Facilitator of Regional Development., Itä-Suomen yliopisto. URN:NBN:fi:amk-2018111317053
Rural tourism enterprises in Finland are often family-owned, micro sized companies utilizing traditional and local food, culturally valuable surround- ings and serving experiences in the clean Finnish nature. Sustainability is essential in tourism as well as in rural tourism, because it has been proved that tourism industry has both negative and positive impacts on environment, culture and society. Also customers appreciate more and more companies that are acting sustainable way. The entrepreneurs’ perceptions of sustainability and related actions in their own rural tourism business was studied in four rural regions in Finland as part of interregional project. The regions were: Central Finland, Päijät- Häme, Häme and Southern Savo. The study focused widely on environmental, social and cultural dimensions of sustainability and how those dimensions are visible in enterprises´ business idea, operational environment, business operations, product development, marketing and production of services. First in spring 2013 it was illustrated how ecological, cultural and social sustainability is linked to different parts of business plan with the help of matrix tool. This matrix served a ground for developing an analysis tools for thoroughly investigating how different dimensions of sustainability are shown in enterprises business operations. Analysis tools were divided in four phases: a preliminary inquiry to entrepreneurs, a content analysis of the com- pany's marketing communications context, the observation on the premises, as well as entrepreneurs’ interview. During the summer 2013 the study was conducted in 30 enterprises. This paper shows entrepreneurs’ perceptions of sustainability in their own rural tourism business at the moment. The results reveal that every dimension is visible in some extent in rural tourism companies. However there are issues that need development like for example communicating the sustainability to customers. Ecological issues are the most visible in companies operations in practice.