Visit Sweden has joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a Destination Member.

Visit Sweden is Sweden’s National Tourism Organisation, promoting the destination and Sweden brand to attract more foreign visitors, on short as well as long term. More visitors and longer visits mean business for the Swedish tourism industry, economic growth and increased employment throughout Sweden.

From 2020, Visit Sweden is owned by the Swedish state (previously 50% by the state and 50% by the Swedish tourism industry). The assignment Visit Sweden has been given is to create economic growth in the long-term – its marketing efforts should aim to contribute positively in economic, social and environmental terms.

Sustainability in Sweden

For more than a decade, Sweden has been in the top ten of the globally respected Environmental Performance Index produced by Columbia and Yale universities. Recognised for its exceptionally clean air and water alongside its low emissions.

An important milestone is that the Swedish government has set goals for sustainability. Its target is to meet 100% of Sweden’s electricity needs from renewable sources and be fossil-free by 2045.

When it comes to tourism, a sustainable tourism industry in Sweden has been defined by Visit Sweden and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth as an industry that takes responsibility for both current and future economic, social and environmental impacts by starting from the needs of its visitors, companies, the environment and the local community.

In 2002 Visit Sweden, together with the Swedish Ecotourism Association, created Nature’s Best – the first national quality label of ecotourism in the northern hemisphere.

In 2009 Visit Sweden became a climate-neutral company and signed up to the Global Compact – human rights ILO’s 10 core principles.

Since 2015 Visit Sweden has had an extra government assignment – Sustainable nature tourism and ecotourism in the countryside. One of the goals of the assignment was for Sweden to be recognised by its visitor target group as one of the top three sustainable nature experience travel destinations. Sweden achieved this goal in early 2020. Visit Sweden sees great potential in the ongoing development of nature-based activities for Swedish tourism.

For Swedes, the accessible natural environment plays an important role in their lives. Nature contributes to the Swedes’ down-to-earth lifestyle, where both large and small nature experiences improve their wellbeing and creativity. In Sweden, everyone can access this. The right of public access is an open invitation to Sweden’s natural environment. As long as you don’t disturb or destroy, you can enjoy nature as much as you want. Even if you live in the middle of a city, nature is always just around the corner – simple, authentic and welcoming, rich in variety and with something for everyone.

In 2019, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth has published a report under the title “Tools for Sustainable Tourism” (Verktyg för hållbar turism), referring to the GSTC Criteria and GSTC-Recognized Standards.

Building a Sustainable Tourism Industry for the Future

Visit Sweden´s mission is to market Sweden as a sustainable and attractive destination in its selected markets. Its goal is that Sweden should be ranked in the top ten searched for European sustainable countries.

To be able to contribute to a more sustainable tourism industry, Visit Sweden is marketing both the urban and the rural, all four seasons and are focusing on sustainable products.

“Visit Sweden is very happy to become a member at GSTC and we are looking forward to contributing, learning and networking with other members to build a more sustainable tourism industry for the future,” says Susanne Andersson Pripp, Visit Sweden CEO.

GSTC Welcomes Sweden

“We warmly welcome Visit Sweden as a member of GSTC, joining an increasing group of National Tourism Organizations from different regions of the globe. Sweden has a strong reputation as a country that values and applies sustainability practices in many sectors, including tourism. I trust that GSTC programmes and services built around the GSTC Criteria will reinforce Visit Sweden strategies and support their implementation,” says Luigi Cabrini, GSTC Chairman.

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, which eventually can lead to achieving certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body.

Garden lunch – by Anna Hållams –

Treehotel – by Tina Axelsson –

West Coast – by Per Pixel Petersson –