Helsinki is committed to sustainable tourism and adopts the cities’ joint declaration on sustainable urban tourism. The declaration was published at the meeting of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Lisbon on 5 April.
The other cities committed to the declaration, in addition to Helsinki, are Barcelona, Bruges, Brussels, Dubrovnik, Kraków, Madrid, Moscow, Nur-Sultan, Paris, Porto, Prague, Punta del Este, Lisbon, Tbilisi, São Paulo and Seoul. Also committed to the declaration are, for example, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank and the European Committee of the Regions.
Sustainable tourism means that the framework for tourism operations is set by the local community. The aim is to maximise the positive effects of tourism and, at the same time, minimise its negative effects.
Helsinki is actively developing the possibilities to make responsible choices. A new service called Think Sustainably will launch on the city marketing website MyHelsinki.fi in the summer. Consumers, both local residents and visitors, may use the service to search for sustainable services, such as restaurants, accommodation, activities and events from the City's wide range of offerings. The service is based on sustainability criteria tailor-made for Helsinki, which have been developed in collaboration with local interest groups and sustainability experts.
To Helsinki, the concept of sustainable tourism includes a focus on quality instead of quantity. The sustainable growth of tourism improves the foreseeability of possible problems and ensures smooth services for visitors and city residents alike.
Helsinki wants to be a trendsetter in sustainable tourism as well. In 2018, Helsinki was awarded the first prize in the European Commission’s new European Capital of Smart Tourism competition. The competition recognises outstanding achievements in categories such as accessibility, digitalisation, principles of sustainable tourism, cultural heritage and creativity in tourism.
The work to further sustainable tourism continues. Helsinki’s Sustainable Tourism Programme will be completed during 2019. Helsinki is also taking part in the pilot project for the Sustainable Finland concept developed by Visit Finland.