In the thesis the construction of the World Heritage Kvarken Archipelago, in accordance with UNESCO’s principles, is analysed and at the same time the emphasis the World Heritage status sets on the social and the economic development of the region is investigated. The socioeconomic transformation can be related to the European research of rural development and rural capital in which the focus is set on rural areas that historically has been production resources for agriculture and fishery and has then been transformed into a ”new” rural economy based on the service industry. In accordance with the theory on rural development it can be expected that the designation to UNESCO World Heritage would enhance the development of tourism and the service industry.
The empirical material in the thesis consists, on the one hand, of a poll directed to actors and stakeholders who have taken part in the working process of establishing the Kvarken region as a World Heritage, on the other hand of interviews with key actors who have been engaged in the establishment and development of the World Heritage Kvarken Archipelago. In addition to the poll and the interviews the thesis is based on analysis of central documentation of the construction process.
One important question in the thesis is how the integration between the national, regional and the local level has turned out during the development of the World Heritage Kvarken Archipelago. Therefore the thesis describes and analyses the national, regional and the local levels’ perception of the World Heritage Kvarken Archipelagos establishing process, its’ key actors and the motives behind the establishment. In the latter part of the thesis the socioeconomic change is analysed, especially focusing on the tourism industry which alongside the World Heritage has become a factor to be taken into consideration as regards development of local economies.
The geological formations and the stones, which by UNESCO has been given outstanding universal values have become objects and have been given symbolic value in a process that transforms them into important parts of rural capital.
The development of Kvarken Archipelago into a tourism destination has somewhat accelerated with the UNESCO designation but the process still is in the early stage of development and the actors are unsecure on what it requires in order for the place to develop into a tourist attraction.
|Tila||Julkaistu - 2011|