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Finnish cities among world’s most sustainable destinations

The City of Helsinki has developed a carbon footprint calculator, which was used for the first time at Sideways Festival last summer.

Miikka Varila

The Finnish capital, Helsinki, is the fourth most sustainable tourist destination in the world and Tampere the 25th.

The two cities were listed as such on this year’s Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index. The annual ranking assesses the sustainability of tourist destinations across four different categories of performance – environmental, social, supplier and destination management – using 70 indicators.

Both Finnish cities ranked highly in the category of environmental performance: Helsinki topped the category, with Tampere listed in the fourth position.

The cities have set the ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. From a tourism perspective, the cities are striving for a more inclusive approach to developing the sector in collaboration with residents. The two are also facilitating climate-friendly visitor experiences and are part of a nationwide push to inspire tourism operators to adapt more sustainable practices in their service offering.

Tampere’s tram service runs on green electricity.

Laura Vanzo

“One of Helsinki's main goals in the development of tourism is to become the world’s most sustainable travel destination,” said Nina Vesterinen, tourism director at the City of Helsinki. “The fact that our ranking rose by eight places from last year is a sign that we are doing the right things.”

Finland is collectively taking innovative measures in the tourism sector, trialling passport-free travel as visitor numbers continue to rise following the pandemic. Helsinki Airport has also been making headlines recently, winning a duo of awards and hosting the world’s first second-hand clothing shop to operate at an airport.

By: James O’Sullivan