Leading the Way: “Sustainable Travel” and its journey towards becoming “Regular Travel”
Marju Niskanen
Northern Europe

Leading the Way: “Sustainable Travel” and its journey towards becoming “Regular Travel”

In recent years the phrase ‘sustainable travel’ has been rising a lot in conversations across the travel industry. At Kuoni Tumlare we are constantly reviewing and positioning ourselves to drive positive change in this field through our partnerships and product offering, knowing that each one of us can make a real difference in helping the Earth become a cleaner and healthier planet to live – and travel - in.

The concept of sustainable travel is wide and complex – in short, it means crafting our itineraries and plans with a mindful effort towards reducing our ecological impact on the planet and making a rational and conscious decision to travel to “green” destinations.

From carefully picking suppliers (hotels, restaurants, venues, etc.), who care and do something to preserve or improve the environment, to choosing low footprint means of transportation like travelling by train and carbon-neutral transportation.

For many, it also translates into carrying out environmentally friendly behaviours throughout their trip, such as recycling, staying longer in one destination, educating themselves on the topic by visiting museums and other attractions dedicated to this topic, favouring walking over taking a taxi, choosing hybrid vehicles for sightseeing tours (a lot of fun as well as an opportunity to discover hidden gems!), or simply spending time exploring nature and its beautiful landscapes.

No matter how small or inconsequential … sustainable travel options are already all around us, ready for the taking. And our travellers are not only keen, but also pushing for these options to be included when crafting their itineraries.

Sustainable travel is not only an option we offer, but a strategic direction – we truly believe that it is a key trend and a way of travelling that is here to stay and will probably become the new standard, which means that in the future when we talk about travel we will automatically mean what’s now termed sustainable travel.

We are determined to do our part in pushing and promoting sustainable travel experiences by choosing to work with eco-conscious suppliers – hotels, restaurants, and attractions – and leveraging the expertise of our in-destinations local teams to curate and design tours that are eco-friendly and meet the needs of our customers. We believe that sustainability in travel is now more important that ever. Climate change is the biggest environmental threat and tourism is a growing industry. All our choices matter.

As the General Manager of Northern Europe at Kuoni Tumlare – a Region where Scandinavian countries have a long tradition of being sustainable and scored among the top 30 ranking countries according to the Sustainable Development Report 2020: Sweden (1st), Denmark (2nd), Finland (3rd), Norway (6th), Iceland (26th) - I am proud to say that we have a vast number of enterprises, partners and suppliers who take full responsibility and actively drive and promote eco-travel programs.

Here are some ideas on how a sustainable itinerary might look like if you were to travel in Finland and Sweden with us.

Let’s start off with a city tour of Helsinki in Finland, by bicycle or kayak, followed by an all-about-recycling workshop to learn all the tricks, after which you can round off your day with an eco-meal in a local restaurant. The next day, jump on a train going to the Lakeland area, Oulu, Kemi, or Finnish Lapland. These destinations have a long list of activities for nature-lovers: wildlife observation, hiking adventures, biking, fat-biking, snowshoeing, dog sledge, canoeing, sauna, sup trips and many others. Don’t stop there … continue your trip to the Swedish Lapland with its many eco-friendly activities such as bird watching, Sami activities, Northern lights, or Midnight sun (no guarantee there though I’m afraid!) while staying in exciting and unique accommodation facilities that are of course green.

These examples give an idea of how sustainable travel might look in practice, with the underlying message that ultimately each one of us can do a lot to contribute to the planet. And, if you are interested in travelling today but cannot because of travel restrictions, you can look into joining one of our virtual tours – what is more sustainable than travelling without leaving the comfort of home?

Long-haul travel of course has a sizeable ecological impact – while airlines are working towards reducing this impact, at Kuoni Tumlare, being part of a broader ecosystem, we are focusing on what happens at the destination and doing our part in promoting and expanding our offering to include more sustainable travel options. We are happy to see that so many of our partners share the same goal and sustainability is becoming a norm.

We are living in an era where all ideas and innovations can become reality and we look forward to the day when sustainable travel will be considered regular travel – and we are doing our best to get to that place.



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