Tromsø city seen from the mountain and Sherpa stairs
©Vegard Stien

Tromsø - a sustainable destination

Sustainability is no longer a trend. It has become a lifestyle that is being embraced by more and more people. Sustainable tourism involves working to ensure that the tourism industry takes care of the environment and local culture while aiming to achieve a positive development for the locals, tourism companies and tourists.

Tromsø is surrounded by pristine Arctic nature, which can be reached within minutes from the city centre, while the wildlife in the Arctic is fragile and vulnerable.

The residents of Tromsø are proud and fond of their city and the surrounding nature.

Visitors to Tromsø are aware of this and wish to experience the city with a clear conscience. More and more tourists are demonstrating responsibility by travelling green and demanding authentic local experiences of high quality.

For several years, the tourism industry in Tromsø has been working systematically to reduce the negative impact of tourism on the environment and to find sustainable ways to satisfy the guests.

But what does this really mean in practice?

Innovation Norway’s national Sustainable Destination label

In 2019, Tromsø was awarded the Sustainable Destination label by Innovation Norway. 

The label is a stamp of quality for working correctly over time, as well as tools that will help to strengthen the destination in a more sustainable direction for the future.

Many people associate sustainable tourism with measures to reduce emissions to the air and the amount of plastic waste in the ocean. While taking care of the nature and the environment are important components, this deals with far more. The tourism should contribute to local value creation, safe year-round jobs and ensure that the local community is a good place to live – now and in the future.

Innovation Norway’s label scheme is based on international standards and is in accordance with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. To start with, the members of the destination company Visit Tromsø-Region have chosen to strive for the following STGs:

Major and minor measures in a long-term perspective

Working to achieve sustainable tourism is complex and requires competence building, good dialogue and broad cooperation between many actors. Right from outset, politicians, locals, the destination company and the business community in Tromsø have all been involved in this process, which started in 2017. Sustainability forms an essential part of the tourism strategy for Tromsø Municipality, which was adopted in 2019.

Sustainability courses have been arranged for the tourism companies to increase the understanding of how sustainability and green strategies can be implemented in large and small companies.

Hosting courses have also been arranged for tourism companies. These courses are designed to ensure that the guests feel welcome and well taken care of, and that they receive useful information and experiences of high quality in the Tromsø region.

The “Tromsø Cares” guidelines have been developed by Visit Tromsø-Region and have been widely communicated in brochures, online and on social media. All guests are encouraged to be considerate during their stay in Tromsø.

Visit Tromsø-Region has initiated and taken part in the development of ethical guidelines for whale watching, an activity that has experienced rapid growth in recent years. This contributes to minimising the impact on the whales from human activity and helps the activity providers make the right choices.

Guidelines for Northern Lights tourism will contribute to taking care of the safety of the guests, the locals and the surrounding areas, as well as contributing to more sustainable use of the city and the region.

The focus for the cruise tourism is on coordinating, communicating and selling local activities and offers and ensuring an increased level of local value creation. Cruise guests are an important part of the tourist flow to the destination, and separate criteria have been developed for this sector in addition to national standards.

The task that never ends

The above-mentioned measures are some of the contributions towards continuous improvement. However, receiving the label as a sustainable destination does not mean that our destination is sustainable.

This is not a task that stands still, but rather a task that never ends. At the forefront of this work are a dedicated Tromsø Municipality and an industry that takes responsibility for steering the tourism development in a binding sustainable direction to ensure that Tromsø is even better equipped for the future. Tromsø will remain an attractive place for the locals to live in and an attractive destination for the guests to visit.

How can you as a guest care for Tromsø?

Visit Tromsø-Region encourages you to eat locally sourced food, choose environmentally certified accommodation and activity providers, shop at local shops and follow the “Tromsø Cares” guidelines

These guidelines include respecting animals, birds and plants, respecting people’s privacy and private property and not leaving unnecessary traces in nature. By following these and other simple guidelines, you will contribute to preserving the nature here and ensuring the locals enjoy hosting you.

On these pages, we help you to make sustainable choices by providing you with an overview of green activities.

You are also encouraged to visit Tromsø’s official tourist information office at the Tromsø Passenger Terminal. The hosts will give you tips  about what to wear, help you find the activity that suits you best and offer you general advice.

You are recommended to take part in organised activities with a guide when you visit Tromsø. This way you will get even more out of your experience and visit.

Welcome to Tromsø!

Share your experiences and use the hashtag #tromsocares and tag @visittromso