January 2018 – Region Västerbotten, Northern Sweden, has joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a destination member.

Region Västerbotten is responsible for regional development and growth in Västerbotten County, Northern Sweden. Västerbotten County and the county’s 15 municipalities own Region Västerbotten, a politically headed organization.

With sustainability at the core of Västerbotten’s development, the tourism division has identified GSTC and its Criteria as a means to help create sustainable tourism in businesses and DMOs.

Photo taken by Thomsen Adventures

“We are very pleased to welcome Region Västerbotten to GSTC,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO. “Becoming a GSTC member involves taking a pledge to adhere to the GSTC Criteria — which is not a form of certification, but an entry point to follow universal sustainability principles in the management and development of their tourism. We are glad that Region Västerbotten is applying the GSTC Criteria in their policy development and operational planning.”

« We have been using the GSTC Criteria to prepare service providers and DMOs for possible future certifications, » says Annika Sandström, Region Västerbotten Tourism Manager. « Over the past two years, about 200 businesses have learned of the GSTC Criteria through lectures; 60 tourism businesses have been gap analyzed and given action plans to comply better with the GSTC Criteria and indicators. »

« 5 local destinations (7 municipalities) have been investigated and gap-analyzed using the GSTC for destinations. This has been done in cooperation with more than a hundred stakeholder representatives and experts, » adds Dan Jonasson, Region Västerbotten Project Leader of Sustainable Tourism.

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 being certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body.

Västerbotten is mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, the Baltic coast and university cities. In winter reindeer graze the suburbs following their ancient paths. We are stone age art, Sámi culture, and urban pulse infusion,” adds Ms. Sandström, and invites all to visit Västerbotten in Lapland.

Photo taken by Tor Larsson