Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have further highlighted the need for sustainable travel practices to be implemented in the travel industry in order for it to survive in the future.
Visit Finland launched the nationwide Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) program with the aim of making sustainability a new norm in the travel industry and Finland one of the leading sustainable travel destinations in the world.
“We want to nurture, conserve and preserve our pure and pristine nature, the Finnish lifestyle that is so firmly rooted in it, and our culture that celebrates equality,” explains Liisa Kokkarinen, the Manager for Sustainable development at Visit Finland / Business Finland.
Oulu is one of the destinations that aim to receive the recognition of a Sustainable Travel Finland destination. The Sustainable Travel Finland label is awarded to those companies and destinations that undergo the entire STF program and fulfill all its criteria considering environmental, social, cultural, and economic sustainability. The program requires a true commitment to sustainable development goals from the destinations and companies and involves regular auditing. The STF-program is free of charge and it offers companies concrete tools to develop and adopt sustainable practices.
VisitOulu has just started the program in January, but companies in the area already have a long history of sustainable practices in the core of their actions. ”Our mission now is to help our skillful tourism company network to communicate their values and know-how even more to the consumers. We know that by combining our forces we can be the most wanted sustainable travel destination in the near future” says Päivi Penttilä, the Managing Director of VisitOulu.
Responsible travel is a growing global megatrend and consumers worldwide are expecting to be guided to this direction by tour operators. By choosing an STF labelled company or experience consumers will know that they are supporting local tourism efforts towards sustainability: they can be sure that their travel has a positive impact on local culture and economy and as little negative impact on the environment as possible.
Saving the world is also great business
Finland is a small country on the global scale. Yet we are already among the top 10 sustainable countries in the world (Environmental Perform Index). Nearly 80% of Finland’s land area is covered by forest and we have the richest freshwater resources in the EU as well as the cleanest air in the world. In 2021, we are the happiest country in the world for the fourth year in a row (World Happiness Report).
In Oulu we believe that sustainable development can be our superpower
“Now by combining the economic recovery with global green transition, in Oulu we have true potential to blend our country’s circular economy, Oulu’s technical innovations and sustainable travel offerings into an unbeatable world-class competitive advantage”. Paivi Penttila says.
Päivi Penttilä, Managing Director, VisitOulu
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