World-leading researcher leads discussion on balanced tourism

Sustainable tourism on a finite planet

Here at Djurgården, we see balanced tourism as important. It is about creating a wonderful harmony between Stockholmers, visitors from near and far, nature and culture. Therefore, we did not hesitate for a moment when we had the opportunity to welcome a world-leading researcher to Djurgården. Together with the Swedish Cultural Heritage body, we hosted a conference where we discussed issues related to overtourism and the hidden costs. We think it is important to discuss the impact of the hospitality industry and how we can work together to stengthen the positive impact and minimise the negative. To make this happen, we need urban planners, transport planners and the hospitality industry to be innovative and work more closely together. We always need to be one step ahead to ensure that we maintain a good balance.

Which is why for two days in October 2019, managers from the organisations Visita and Visit Sweden as well as some of Sweden’s biggest tourist attractions and state-funded cultural and tourism organisations came together here at Djurgården.

Research from Harvard on the agenda

The keynote speaker was Megan Epler Wood from Harvard University and Cornell University. She is one of the world’s leading researchers in the sustainable tourism field. Her book, Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet, highlights the challenges we face at both a global and a local level, and identifies the importance of taking an holistic approach to the data we have. She also says that awareness is the first step — hence why this meeting was so important — with consensus and cooperation around tourism infrastructure being the solution. We recognise that this is an area where we need to do better; it is a challenge we must accept.

Localhood in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen, the tourism organisation Wonderful Copenhagen has already changed its strategy and is focusing on finding ways to drive tourism in a sustainable direction. Are there ways for both tourists and residents to come out on top? According to CEO Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, the answer is yes. And in Copenhagen, they call it “localhood”.

At the meeting, we received input all the way from Venice as well as from closer by, from Fjällbacka. Stockholm’s Finance Minister, Anna König Jerlmyhr, also presented Stockholm’s position on the issue.

On day two, Djurgården’s attractions also gave their input. The meeting was important for gaining insight into the latest research, gaining perspective on our own operations as well as for the development of Swedish tourism in the future.

During the pandemic, these issues have been put to the side. However, we believe it is important to always keep them in mind, especially now. What do we want a restart for our industry to look like? Can we do something differently to achieve balanced tourism?

The discussions continue.

The conference focused on how we can strengthen the positive effects of tourism (12.B)

Representatives from various organisations in both the public and private sector came together (17.17)

At the conference, we addressed how we could promote sustainable tourism (8.9)