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The aim of the Carbon Neutral Tourism project was to reduce the tourism industry’s carbon dioxide emissions and increase energy efficiency by developing smart solutions and operating models that utilise data for use by the tourism industry. Another aim of the project was to broaden companies’ understanding of the industry’s carbon footprint and methods to reduce it.

The project was carried out in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere and involved a total of 72 companies.

Results of the Carbon Neutral Tourism project

  • The main result of the Carbon Neutral Tourism project was a carbon footprint calculator created for companies in the tourism industry. Companies can use the calculator to calculate their carbon footprint, identify their largest emissions sources and take action to reduce emissions. After the project ended, the open browser-based calculator became part of Visit Finland’s services. The calculator was built together with the Välkky project of the Regional Council of Lapland.
  • The indicators and definitions of sustainable tourism were mapped at the start of the project. The project released a report on the definitions of sustainable tourism and recommendations for it, in addition to looking into existing carbon footprint calculators suitable for the tourism industry. The project also looked into data sources on sustainable tourism.
  • In relation to the data platform, the project implemented a concept that resulted in a technical architecture. The concept was tested with proof of concept pilots on the knowledge management data platform in cooperation with KnowUrBiz.
  •  Two data platform pilots were organised:
    • Helsinki Tourist Information’s data platform pilot, which utilised data on urban tourism in guiding and anticipating Helsinki Tourist Information’s operations.
    • Suomenlinna’s data platform pilot, in which ferry traffic data was used to allow companies in Suomenlinna to forecast the demand for and timing of their services and the necessary resources.
  • The project organised an innovation competition to look for parts supporting carbon neutral tourism for a digital platform model, as well as new partnerships for three themes: most creative dashboard, most innovative data analysis and best impact potential. Through the innovation competition, the project sought new ideas and concepts for developing smart solutions for companies in the tourism industry and City actors. According to the judges, the level of the competition entries was high, the entries were well-formulated and their visual presentation was good. The competition’s winners were Salmi Platform Oy, Zeamly and Travelcon Oy.
  • A data collection pilot was carried out to determine the carbon dioxide emissions generated by a tourist’s travels and the carbon intensity of the emissions by making use of data from telecommunications operators and surveys conducted among tourists. The pilots were implemented by TAK, Elisa, Salmi Platform and Telia Finland.
  • The project developed a certificate reader that gives visibility to the responsibility certificates completed by companies in the tourism industry. This tool helps tourism industry companies and tourists find cooperation partners that fit their values, while regional tourism organisations can find out the status of the certified operators in their area. In the future, the certificate reader will be part of Visit Finland’s services.
  • Visit Tampere has utilised the indicator data and knowledge management models for carbon neutral tourism produced by the project in compiling the Carbon Neutral Tampere 2030 Roadmap.
  • The project also carried out other national and Nordic cooperation to promote carbon neutral tourism and held three webinars, including a joint Smart Destination online event with Gothenburg in September 2021.

The objective of the Carbon Neutral Tourism project was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase energy efficiency in the tourism industry through the development of smart, data-driven solutions and new operating models for industry operators. The project also increased tourism industry operators’ understanding of the carbon footprint of tourism and concrete measures for reducing it. The project was coordinated by the City of Helsinki, and the other parties involved were the City of Turku, Visit Tampere and Forum Virium Helsinki. The project ran from March 2020 to the end of February 2022, and its budget was EUR 899,423.

Further information

Anna Peltosaari
Project Manager
City of Helsinki