To help the tourism industry in Finland to adopt sustainable practices, Visit Finland is presenting for the first time at ITB Asia the Sustainable Travel Finland programme, designed for tourism companies and destinations in Finland.
During the Autumn 2018, Visit Finland carried out a survey among tourism actors in the country. The survey revealed that 83% of the respondents supported the idea of a national sustainable tourism programme. The pledge for a sustainable travel label was born.
Finland feels particularly vulnerable to climate change. The most sensitive to climate change are many of Finland’s outdoor travel products that depend on climate. Mitigation requires proactive tourism planning and management at national and regional level. Visit Finland feels then the necessity to act immediately. The idea of Sustainable Travel Finland programme is to provide companies and destinations with a sustainable development path; a concrete toolkit for sustainable tourism that makes it easier to adopt sustainable practices and choices in the everyday business.
The “Sustainable Travel Finland” label will make it easier for travel trade and travellers to recognise a tourism company and destination that takes sustainability seriously. The label is only awarded for those companies and destinations that have undergone the entire Sustainable Travel Finland programme and fulfilled the criteria. The programme includes regular auditing and renewal of the label.
Companies and destinations that undergo the entire programme are recognised with the Sustainable Travel Finland label and will have access to a continuous development model, the latest information on sustainable tourism development, and marketing support and visibility on visit Finland channels.
Although Sustainable Travel Finland programme aligns with internationally known sustainable tourism programmes and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is built for regional and national development needs. Instead of adopting a foreign model to Finland, a national model has consequently been designed to address these needs, as well as regional differences.
While for the international travel trade the Sustainable Travel Finland label provides an easy way to identify a sustainable tourism provider or a destination, for the tourism industry in Finland it provides a 7-step sustainable tourism development path. This 7-step programme is available on an online platform specifically built for the purpose. The platform is supported with an “e-guide” e-learning environment, accessible only by those accepted to Sustainable Travel Finland programme.
Step 1. Commitment
Step 2. Increasing know- how
Step 3. Development plan
Step 4. Responsible communication
Step 5. Certification
Step 6. Verification and measurability
Step 7. Agreement on Sustainable Travel Finland
Visitors will also be involved as they will promise to respect and treasure Finnish nature. A great challenge that should be adopted by other countries…
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Photo: Visit Finland at ITB Asia 2019 – (left to right) Hanna Muoniovaara, Sirpa Lindberg and Sari Hey