2023 has been a pivotal year in the travel industry, marked by significant advances in sustainable practices. The focus on eco-friendly travel has never been more pronounced, and various destinations have stepped up to meet this growing demand. Euromonitor International's 2023 Sustainable Travel Index provides a detailed overview of these efforts, showcasing how destinations are innovating to reduce environmental impact, promote social justice, and develop sustainable tourism infrastructure.
Europe dominates the Sustainable Travel Index 2023 taking the top 17 places.
Sweden: A Sustainable Travel Leader
Sweden has been a consistent leader in sustainable travel. With a goal to become “the world’s most sustainable and attractive destination by 2030,” Sweden's capital, Stockholm, has its public transport running entirely on renewable energy since 2017. Additionally, the country boasts over 250 hotels certified by the rigorous Nordic Ecolabel and the Nature’s Best ecotourism charter, endorsing tour operators dedicated to sustainable practices.
Finland: Embracing Eco-friendly Practices
Finland, following closely behind Sweden, is known for its vast wilderness and commitment to preserving its natural beauty. The Finnish approach to sustainability encompasses a comprehensive use of renewable energy sources and promotion of eco-friendly tourism activities that immerse travelers in nature without disrupting it.
Austria: Green Heart of Europe
Austria, ranking third, blends its rich cultural heritage with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship. The country is recognized for its eco-friendly urban planning and initiatives that encourage sustainable travel options, such as extensive cycling paths and green hotels.
Estonia: Digital and Sustainable
Estonia, known for its digital innovation, extends this approach to its tourism sector. By integrating technology with sustainable practices, Estonia offers a unique model of eco-tourism, highlighting the balance between modern convenience and environmental responsibility.
Norway: Leading by Example
Norway, with its stunning fjords and commitment to green living, exemplifies sustainable tourism. The country's focus on preserving its natural landscapes while offering tourists eco-friendly travel options sets a high standard for others to follow.
The other destinations in the top 20, including Slovakia, Slovenia, Iceland, Latvia, and Switzerland, each bring their unique approach to sustainable tourism, from promoting local cultures and traditions to preserving natural landscapes and wildlife.
These destinations are not just places to visit; they are pioneers in a movement towards a more sustainable and responsible future in travel. Their efforts in 2023 have set a benchmark, showing how tourism can be a force for good, benefiting both the environment and the communities that host travelers.