Höga Kusten Destinationsutveckling AB (The High Coast of Sweden) has joined as a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Sweden’s High Coast is in the northern part of Europe neighboring Norway and the Gulf of Bothnia. The High Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting the highest coastline in the world at approximately 286 meters above sea level.
The area started to rise from the sea 10 000 years ago. Through the years nature has shaped society and how they live their lives. Many years later the area received its status as a World Heritage Site and continues to rise at a rate of approximately 8 mm per year. Nature is the destination’s greatest asset and a source of well-being for both guests and residents.
Sustainability in The High Coast of Sweden
Together with other important stakeholders, they are developing the High Coast of the future. The High Coast has endless possibilities as a tourist destination, with unique environments as backdrops for interesting encounters with both locals and people from all over the world. Step by step the destination’s stakeholders are now banding together to work on fulfilling both their own and global sustainability goals.
Sustainability is taken seriously, in line with the motto “an attractive, sustainable and accessible place to which more and more people yearn”. To signal this to both the tourism industry and visitors, the High Coast aims to be a carbon-neutral destination by 2030. They also will work jointly to create conditions that will result in visitors coming all year round to mitigate seasonality, while also evenly distributing visitors in the region and focusing on nearby markets to reduce environmental impact. Investment in infrastructure, sustainable travel systems, and hiking/biking trails help meet growing demands and accessibility, making it easier to get to and travel sustainably around the destination.
These sustainability initiatives are based on three dimensions: Ensuring the preservation of nature and culture; Taking care of local communities; and Creating attractive places to visit and appropriate conditions in which businesses can thrive.
“We have joined the GSTC network since we see the importance of leading the industry’s development in the right direction together with others. We also see an advantage in getting in touch with more people who share our desire to develop places in a long-term way and feel strength in both being able to learn from others who have gone before and share with those who come after” says, Joel Libell, Höga Kusten Destinationsutveckling.
GSTC Welcomes The High Coast of Sweden
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Höga Kusten (the High Coast of Sweden) to our global network as a GSTC member. Their commitment to sustainability is admirable and we look forward to collaborating with them closely. We wish Höga Kusten the best of success in their journey towards sustainable tourism” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.
Höga Kusten Destinationsutveckling is the destination management organization for The High Coast region and the municipalities of Härnösand, Kramfors, Sollefteå and Örnsköldsvik. The organization has the task of promoting the strategic development of the tourism industry in the High Coast of Sweden. Nature has laid the foundations for a broad outdoor life in the High Coast, which has created an enormous selection of available activities, adventures, and events all year round.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.
The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.