The COVID-19 pandemic has changed travel preferences quite a bit.
We began to travel less often to other countries and began to travel more around the home country.
We began to avoid too crowded places and choose places for vacations where there are no crowds of people.
But we are also passionate about traveling.
All this has led to an increase in the popularity of national parks and natural attractions.
After months of isolation during the pandemic, Americans are visiting national parks more often. At first, the number of visitors decreased in 2020 (compared to the year 2019). But, in the summer of 2021, there was a big increase in national parks popularity.
The growth in the number of visitors to some national parks in the United States has been so strong that the administration is forced to try to limit the number of visitors. Some places need to be booked in advance.
For example, the number of visitors to Dead Horse Point State Park (Utah) in 2021 has doubled since March 2019.
Most of the increase in visitors is concentrated in the largest and most popular parks in the United States. Including: Glacier National, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee), Acadia (Maine), Canyonlands (Utah).
Some US national park visitation statistics (through June).
US most visited national parks.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Yellowstone National Park.
- Zion National Park.
- Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Grand Teton National Park.
The National Park Service administers more than 400 national parks across the country. You can find the location of some natural attractions on our USA map.
This trend in the development of tourism exists not only in the United States, but also in other countries. In Finland, it was observed that the number of residents in Helsinki dropped markedly in July 2021. The warm summer and the closed nature of other European countries forced the Finns to travel from the big cities of Finland closer to nature. The growth is observed in popular summer cities (Imatra, Savonlinna, Kuopio), in the lake region of Finland, in cottage villages, on the Baltic Sea coast.
The Åland Islands and Lapland were very popular regions in Finland this summer. The number of visitors to Finland's national parks increased by 23% in 2020 (compared to 2019). There will be even more tourists in 2021 in Finland national parks. For example, the number of visitors to the Syöte National Park (Syötteen kansallispuisto) has almost tripled in five years.)
Finland's most popular national parks
- Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.
- Urho Kekkonen National Park.
- Nuuksio National Park.
- Oulanka National Park.
- Koli National Park.
Number of visitors in Finland National Parks (mln. People).
You can see the location of many attractions and places to visit on a map of Finland.
Residents of Russia also began to visit remote regions of the country more often.
The number of tourists visiting mountainous Altai region in 2020 reached about 2 million people, which is 2 times more than a year earlier. This trend continued in 2021.
An increase in the number of tourists is also possible in the Republic of Karelia.
The Kamchatka Peninsula is also very interesting for tourists region in Russia. The unique nature of Kamchatka could attract many tourists, but this region is located at a great distance from major cities. (The air travel distance between Moscow and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is 6,795 km or 4,222 miles. ) It is not easy for tourists to visit Kamchatka, but the number of tourists is likely to increase in the coming years.
Will tourists harm nature?
The rise in popularity of outdoor recreation is good, but the traffic growth can cause a problem. Too many tourists in a national park can degrade the natural resources, wildlife that the parks are designed to protect.
Look my travel stories here.
Updated October 2021.
Yellowstone National Park broke the attendance record even before the end of the year. In the first 9 months of 2021, the park was visited by almost 4.5 million people. This is the first year that Yellowstone has received over 4 million visitors. (By comparison, Yellowstone had just under 4 million visits in 2016.)
Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park also experienced its busiest year on record, even though the year is not yet over. Nearly 3.5 million people have already visited Grand Teton National Park in the first 9 months of 2021 (January to September). This is more than in any previous year.
Visiting national parks, walks in the wild can be a great pleasure and cause overwhelming emotions.
But, with an increase in the number of visits to national parks, nature conservation becomes an important task. We all, each of us, must protect nature and not influence it. Nature is in danger!