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Sweden and Madrid well ahead on the Sustainable Travel Index

March 10, 2022

Increased demand for travel offers, and more awareness

The latest findings of the “Sustainable Travel Index” reveal that the awareness of sustainability and environmental protection is becoming an increasingly important factor, and one which has intensified and become more apparent as a result of the pandemic. The report by the market research company Euromonitor International, which was presented at the keynote speech “From Carbon Neutral Destinations to Regenerative Tourism: Boundaries and Implementation” by Carolin Bremner, Head of Travel and Tourism Research, clearly shows the effects within the tourism sector. Among countries Sweden ranks first, followed by Slovakia and Austria. First among the cities is Madrid, ahead of Stockholm and Dublin.

Due to the new variants of COVID-19, the recovery by the travel and tourism sector remains unpredictable: However, social and ecological values are in any case the focus of new strategies, according to Caroline Bremner: “There is evidence of the awareness of sustainability on the part of travel brands and vacation destinations as a new social phenomenon, and of tools such as the CO2 calculator, which is intended to ensure that customers adhere to more sustainable travel alternatives.”

Demonstrating that sustainability can improve the travel experience, Sweden heads the current Sustainable Travel Index and features “a unique, eco-chic range of tourism attractions encompassing adventures in the Arctic and sophisticated city experiences”. The earnest approach to sustainability is evident at many places around the world, and countries such as Costa Rica and Romania have been demonstrating constant improvements in this area for many years. “Even during the worst of the pandemic Estonia became a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council”, Bremner pointed out. The city that is currently leading the field is Madrid, a destination that seriously affected by over-tourism. However, with numerous intelligent and attractive concepts, sustainable travel experiences can still be offered.

Another good example is that of New Zealand. Its “New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment” is aimed at requiring all the country’s tourism companies to embrace sustainability by 2025. “Such a vision shows the way forward and takes the lead in sustainable tourism”, Bremner pointed out. In this way an industry is being built up that can offer high quality experiences to local inhabitants and international visitors alike, as well as exerting a positive influence on local communities. Moreover it is helping to restore and protect the natural environment as well as reviving the economic sustainability of the sector.

As destinations around the world are gradually opening up again, and the local livelihoods are protected and retained, Euromonitor reports an awareness among companies, consumers and governments for a need to focus “not only on profit but also on people and the planet”. Although domestic tourism can contribute to recovery in the short and medium term, radical changes are essential in order to promote resilience and flexibility and to make the sector future-proof. Caroline Bremner is convinced that: “66 per cent of customers believe that positive impacts on the environment are important for their daily lives, and this also applies to travel.”

Detailed information on the session can be found here: