Branding Norway with sustainable tourism
and giving visitors a glimpse into what sustainability really means
for people and business
Norway has in recent years taken a range of steps towards building a more sustainable tourism industry and at Innovation Norway we are proud to take part in the United Nations’ 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as one of its Gold Partners.
‘Norway – powered by nature’ is the message for our tourism brand. It clearly reflects what we aim to achieve, which is sustainability in a long-term perspective. Tourism in Norway provides enriching experiences presenting a unique nature, rich history, local cultures and food experiences. As the main agency supporting the Norwegian tourism sector, Innovation Norway and its subsidiary Visit Norway seek to help develop world-class sustainable solutions for the country’s tourism operators. This approach goes hand in hand with the conservation of nature and culture, which play a vital role for local value creation and development.
The United Nations has for several years ranked Norway as one of the best countries to live in. Recently it was also ranked as having one of the world’s happiest populations, according to the UN’s World Happiness Report 2017. Norway is not only rich in nature and natural resources, but also has high ambitions on reducing its footprints in areas important for future generations. As such, innovation and investments are based on highly commended Norwegian values, including closeness and care for nature, social welfare, inclusiveness, and green growth. This effort to create a sustainable society is also reflected in Norway’s tourism offerings, which introduce guests to a rich specter of soft and hard adventures, culture, food experiences, city life and nature activities.DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT
Destination development is a multitasking activity. It combines planning, development, performance and profiling activities while including a wide range of stakeholders and interests. Together with the tourism industry, Innovation Norway has developed the certification system and development process ‘Sustainable Destination’, assisting local and regional destinations to target sustainability issues and work in a systematic, strategic and operational way. All of this comes with the goal of aiming to achieve increased sustainability in the tourism sector. Through this sustainability certification system the various destinations gather information, involve stakeholders, plan and implement actions, and monitor their own progress. In addition, the branded destinations monitor improvement on a broad specter of areas, helping them prioritize actions and work towards long-term goals.
Destinations already branded as sustainable through Innovation Norway are national pioneers when it comes to running strategic and dedicated local processes, with the goal of achieving increased sustainability. Well-known Norwegian tourist destinations such as Røros, Lærdal, Vega, Geilo, Trysil, Setesdal, Inderøy and Svalbard are on the list. These destinations plan and implement actions, such as enhancing local food and culture, reduce emissions by providing better energy solutions and transport. They also help increase the responsibility for local environmental challenges and engage the local community in tourism activities. An example of the latter is how the destinations organize waste disposal – and waste sorting systems – at places used by tourists. The certification is aligned with international standards for sustainability in tourism.
Sustainability efforts are often fragmented and inconsistent. Businesses and destinations are therefore in need of relevant tools and information to manage sustainable tourism. To assist the industry take actions towards sustainability, Innovation Norway showcases all tourism enterprises and products under the Green Travel section of VisitNorway.com. Green Travel provides easy navigation to important certifications for tourism-related businesses such as Ecotourism Norway or the Nordic Swan and helps simplify the search for greener solutions for potential customers.
Innovation Norway is committed to supporting all industries in building a greener future, actively encouraging the use green technology, using digitalization as a mean to better planning and developing sustainable business models. Innovation Norway will continue to support the Sustainable Development Goals and help to deliver solutions needed to achieve them. This includes supporting a tourism sector that provides sustainable solutions for people, business and the environment.