The roadmap for sustainable tourism in the Lappeenranta region, Finland has been completed – the goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of tourists and grow carbon sinks

The roadmap for sustainable tourism in the Lappeenranta region has been published. The roadmap, prepared for the first time, identifies the greatest sustainability challenges in tourism in the Lappeenranta region and sets a goal to respond to them.

The goal of the City of Lappeenranta’s sustainable tourism strategy is to reduce the current carbon footprint of tourists by half by 2030 and grow carbon sinks by increasing the city’s greenery.

According to Mirka Rahman, Director of Tourism, Marketing and Customer Service at the City of Lappeenranta, around half of the total emissions from tourism come from transport.

– Reducing the carbon footprint starts with encouraging tourists to favour public transport, the railway network and other sustainable modes of transport, such as cycling. We inform tourists about the different modes of transport and promote their flow and accessibility.

Rahman says that, even at a regional level, the most important thing is the development of local transport.

– The joint public transport area of Lappeenranta and Imatra, which is planned to be the responsibility of Lappeenranta, will contribute to the development of sustainable mobility.

In addition to public transport accessibility, the development will emphasise the possibilities of pedestrian and bicycle traffic within the city and to nature sites and events, regardless of the season.

– For example, city bikes and other equipment have been available for rent at the Sandcastle Tourism Services Center for several years. Excursion services to nature sites have also been available. Furthermore, Winter Harbour, which was organised for the first time last winter, creates and introduces ways to move around Lake Saimaa in winter, says Rahman.

The city measures the level of emissions from road traffic every year, and every four years a mobility survey is carried out.

– The goal set in the mobility survey is to increase the modal share of walking, cycling and public transport to 55% by 2030, says Rahman.

In addition to transport, emissions will also be reduced by making the city’s service buildings, such as swimming halls, libraries, museums, City Theatre, Lappeenranta Hall, Harbour Stage, Summer Theatre and Fortress buildings carbon neutral by 2025.

According to Rahman, the sustainability of Finland’s largest lake, Lake Saimaa, is a priority for Lappeenranta.

– In addition, we want to improve the residents’ and tourists’ local nature experiences in central tourist areas. We will also add green oases, for example in the Fortress area, where we will plant linden trees every year with the help of our local partners and event visitors.

Sustainable tourism can only be achieved through cooperation

Lappeenranta’s roadmap for sustainable tourism has been developed as part of VisitFinland’s Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) programme, which is implemented regionally by goSaimaa, the regional tourism marketing and development company. The roadmap is also linked to goSaimaa and the City of Lappeenranta’s development plan as well as the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, to which Lappeenranta is committed. The city’s goal will be pursued through a climate programme and the NetZero Cities action plan to be developed during 2023.

– Regional cooperation is the key to success, both in developing sustainable tourism and in securing the resources to work towards it.

– Cooperation takes place at the level of the city organisation when providing sustainable services to both the residents and tourists, and it also extends to the whole of South Karelia, where common challenges related to mobility and access to services are being resolved together with businesses, says Mirka Rahman.

The City of Lappeenranta and goSaimaa encourage and urge tourism and event operators to operate sustainably and to join the cooperation. For example, the operators who rent the city’s event areas must comply with the city’s sustainability guidelines, which cover issues such as waste sorting and increasing the number of bicycle parking spaces.

The city and goSaimaa provide support, but in the overall picture, each operator is responsible for its own activities and their sustainability.

– We promote the idea of a general norm of responsible behaviour. Adequate training and expertise is and will continue to be provided. As a region, we determine our partners and seek to ensure that funding for sustainable tourism is found and sustained.

– We encourage every entrepreneur in the region to get in touch with the city’s Wirma business services or goSaimaa at a low threshold so that we can provide examples to help entrepreneurs and other operators towards more sustainable operations, says Rahman.

Roadmap for sustainable tourism: click here to read more

Learn more about the concept of sustainable tourism in the City of Lappeenranta by watching a short video.

For more information, please contact:

Mirka Rahman
Director of Tourism, Marketing and Customer Service, City of Lappeenranta,
tel. +358 (0)40 849 9161, mirka.rahman@lappeenranta.fi