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Photo Credit: Einar Aslaksen

As plans to reopen tourism in Europe start to take shape, Visit Norway, with inputs from the Norwegian travel industry, presented a new, ambitious national tourism strategy in Oslo this week. The strategy was commissioned by the Norwegian government in January 2020, and it has now been handed over to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø.

Visit Norway and the Norwegian travel industry used the forced break following the restrictions of the pandemic to work on rebuilding the industry in a better, more sustainable way, focusing on being part of the solution to the climate crisis.

One of the main initiatives in the national tourism strategy is the industry’s commitment to a 50% reduction of its climate emissions by 2030 (based on 2019 levels), and in reducing annual transport emissions by 10%. This does not affect the country’s growth ambitions for tourism neither in export income nor in employment rates.

norway
Photo Credit: Visit Norway

“Sustainable growth within the tourism industry has to be combined with a lower climate footprint from the industry as a whole. The travel industry cannot be ringside whilst the fight against climate change continues. We must act responsibly and join forces to do our bit to save the very foundation of our industry. This is the reason the strategy states that sustainability in non-negotiable”, said Bente Bratland Holm, Director of Tourism at Visit Norway.

One of the recommendations in the strategy is the development of a calculator called Klimasmart (‘Climate smart’). This will reveal the consumption per kilo of CO2 emissions for the various tourist markets on the transport part of the trip. A tool of this kind will make it easier for all elements of the tourist industry to make better assessments of the relationship between consumer impact and climate costs in their own strategic initiatives.

The travel industry is a growth industry and plays an important role in shaping local communities and creating much-needed jobs. By following the recommendations, the strategy suggests that almost 43,000 new jobs (25%) will be created within the Norwegian travel industry by 2030.

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Here is a selection of concrete initiatives that are already in place in Norway:

– Sustainable Destination is the Nordic region’s only national accreditation scheme for travel destinations. It is a tool for the sustainable development of businesses and destinations when it comes to the environment, the local community, the cultural heritage, and the economy. The accreditation does not mean that the destinations are 100 per cent sustainable yet but shows that they are committed to a long-term process for sustainable development. The destinations are evaluated every three years.

– «CO2rism», is a digital tool launched by Visit Norway in 2020 for calculating the CO2 emissions caused by the transport of tourists to and in Norway. The user groups of this calculator are businesses and destinations marketers, interested in insight on the emissions caused by the guests they want to attract to Norway. The input data covers both leisure and business travel.

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