ETC, Nordic Council of Ministers Launch New Tourism Campaign

The European Travel Commission (ETC) and the Nordic Council of Ministers have launched a sustainability-focused tourism campaign for the Nordics: A coalition of the seven Nordic tourism boards of Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The initiative is aimed at reviving travel to the region as COVID restrictions are being lifted. It will incorporate B2B and B2C initiatives through work with consortia partners, tour operators and the media. The countries’ unified approach to tourism is strengthened by a shared commitment to sustainability and innovation, and itineraries that seamlessly connect multiple Nordic countries.

Christina Koontz, U.S. project manager for the Nordics, said, “Collectively, we recognize the fragility of our natural environment—our greatest asset—and are determined to both provide sustainable tourism solutions and educate our visitors to ensure future generations of residents and visitors alike can enjoy our breathtaking destinations.”

A range of sustainable activities await travelers in the Nordics. Finland, home to 41 national parks, three million saunas and outdoor activities like off-road biking and ice paddling, plans to be carbon neutral by 2035. Several areas of Sweden are eco-friendly, including Gothenburg which has been named the world’s most sustainable destination in the Global Destination Sustainability Index for five consecutive years; Stockholm, where almost 80 percent of hotels are sustainability accredited by a third-party certifying body; and Skellefeå, which aims to become an early adopter of electric aviation.

In addition to hiking Norway’s fjords, visitors can take the coastal route by sailing on hybrid electric boats. The Faroe Islands are known to draw birdwatchers and hikers, but their farm tours and “heimablídni” (Faroese for home hospitality) experiences are gaining popularity. “Heimablídni” allows locals to share their culture and local cuisine while emphasizing the importance of serving sustainable food from the host’s farm.

During oyster safaris in the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Denmark, participants are guided to oyster beds at low tide where they fill their buckets for a sea-to-table experience. Further afield, the sustainable energy islands of Ærø and Bornholm have adopted ambitious sustainable energy policies that allow them to make more energy than they use.

With two new international airports accessible from the U.S., Greenland will be a four-and-a-half-hour flight away from New York by the end of 2024. The destination, with its indigenous Inuit culture, is visited only by a few tourists a year and offers a range of sustainable activities, including midnight sun, icebergs, kayaking and glamping in the summer, and northern lights, dog sledding, and snow-shoeing in the winter.

Iceland attracts visitors with a range of activities, geothermal pools and wildlife, along with three UNESCO World Heritage sites and two UNESCO Global Geoparks. The island nation has also joined the fight against climate change by aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2040. Visitors can travel to Iceland more sustainably by taking the "Icelandic Pledge" to be a responsible tourist and calculating and offsetting their carbon footprint.

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