Finland’s Leadership in Green Skills Development: Pioneering Sustainability in the Tourism Industry
Finland has a reputation as a leader in environmental policy and sustainable development. The country is highly committed to global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has been ranked number one in an international comparison of sustainable development in 2021. It has also established itself as a trailblazer in promoting sustainability and green skills development within the tourism industry. With a commitment to preserving its clean nature and minimising environmental impact, Finland has implemented innovative strategies and initiatives that set a global benchmark.
In this post we explore Finland’s leadership in green skills development, highlighting the country’s successful practices. By understanding Finland’s approach, we can learn valuable lessons and apply them to foster sustainable tourism practices worldwide.
Sustainable Travel Finland Label
Therefore, Finland’s mission is to become the most sustainably growing tourist destination in the Nordic countries. Its dedication to sustainable tourism is grounded in its long-standing of preserving its pristine nature and promoting responsible travel.
Since sustainability is in the core of all tourism development activities, Visit Finland leads this very strongly with its actions. Visit Finland has launched e.g.The Sustainable Travel Finland Label, a definitive symbol of commitment towards sustainable practices and principles for tourism enterprises and destinations. This label emphasises the importance of green skills development among tourism professionals, enabling them to contribute to the country’s sustainability goals. It is a with trainings to help enterprises and destinations to adopt sustainable practices. The label and its criteria relate to Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable tourism indicators, but it has been applied to the Finnish context. To gain the label, companies and destinations undergo the entire sustainability programme.
In addition, The Visit Finland Label established in 2016, offers a training path consisting of intensive training days for responsible tourism. The Academy is a training selection aimed at tourism destinations and groups of entrepreneurs. The coaches are experts from Visit Finland’s partner coach network and are also trained by Visit Finland. The trainings are ordered and paid for by Visit Finland’s partners, such as regional organisations, regional projects or other regional development agencies, and they are mainly group trainings. Therefore, this is a network approach working through the network of different actors responsible for regional tourism development in collaboration with Visit Finland.
The Visit Finland Academy
The Visit Finland Academy is a tailored approach to develop skills in the Finnish context. The Academy is a link between the development activities made by Visit Finland and the tourism enterprises. It ensures that tourism development is aligned and coherent in Finland: without the Academy tourism development in the country would be very fragmented. In particular, the Academy serves micro and small size entrepreneurs’ interests. This means that training courses are very practical, participative and include a lot of real-life examples.
Related to green skills, the Visit Finland Academy and its trainings include the following topics: ecological responsibility, economic responsibility, sociocultural responsibility, ethical tourism, sustainability marketing and communication, and responsible leadership. These are also the key skills in The Sustainable Travel Finland Label. In addition, there are additional modules related to climate change, circular economy in tourism, inclusive tourism, sustainable food tourism, responsible animal interactions, and health security in tourism.
Finland’s leadership in green skills development sets an inspiring example for the global tourism industry. By emphasising sustainability, fostering collaboration, and implementing innovative initiatives, Finland has established itself as a frontrunner in responsible travel.
Other countries can draw valuable insights from Finland’s success, adapting and implementing similar strategies to promote green skills and sustainable practices within their own tourism sectors. Through collective efforts and knowledge sharing, we can work towards a future where green skills are ingrained in the DNA of the tourism industry, contributing to a more sustainable and resilient planet.
This article is written by Olena de Andres Gonzalez and Sanna-Mari Renfors from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.