Haltia has rapidly become a popular destination
The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia has earned its place as the top destination in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Haltia opened to the public on 31st May 2013. In its first year, over 150 000 people, including thousands of conference participants and schoolchildren visited the nature centre.
In addition to various European countries, international journalist groups that visited the centre included those from the Arab countries, China, and Japan. Foreign tourists comprised around 10 percent of all visitors, and the proportion will grow this year due to enhanced cooperation with various ferry operators.
In the first year, over 80 school groups (around 2000 children in total) participated in the centre’s nature school. They learned about Finnish nature, gained hiking skills, and become more aware of the natural world and environmental responsibility. Leading Finnish politicians and high-level international guests have also visited Haltia.
“The first operating year of Haltia has exceeded expectations in many ways. Individual visitors, conference groups, nature school students, and tourists have flocked to Haltia. The capacity of the indoor facility cannot be increased, but we can develop the multifunctional outdoor field in response to growing demand. The field could be used for various events, nature school activities, and entrepreneurial activities”, says Haltia’s director Tom Selänniemi.
Nuuksio National Park’s visitor volume increased from 183 400 visits in 2012 to 267 400 visits in 2013 – a 48% increase. These figures reflect the great potential of nature travel in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
“We want Haltia to be an inspiring destination in itself, as well as a window to the Finnish wilderness, a place that sparks the public interest in learning more about our natural heritage. Haltia itself is continuously evolving, and we’ll keep on planning new changing exhibitions and changes to the main exhibition. We are also constantly developing programme services with local nature tourism entrepreneurs”, says Selänniemi.
Visitor volume in Haltia is based on monthly calculations. In the beginning, these calculations were based on ticket sales and number of conference visitors, and later also on the data provided by visitor counters. Located next to the Nuuksio National Park in Espoo, Nature Centre Haltia is open every day throughout the summer.
The bus connection between Haltia and Helsinki city centre operates three times a day from June until mid-August. After the peak visitor season ends in mid-August, the bus service continues to operate once a day until the end of September. The Haltia coach is operated by Åbergin Linja Oy, and leaves from the bus stop in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma on Mannerheimintie in the city centre.
This year marked 20 years since the founding of Nuuksio National Park. Everyone born in 1994 can visit Haltia’s exhibitions for free to the end of 2014 to celebrate their shared anniversary. Nuuksio’s 20th anniversary is celebrated in the national park and Haltia throughout the year.
Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is administered by Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services.