Djurgården takes part in designing global sustainability criteria for attractions

Representatives of Royal Djurgården have been invited to join an advisory board when The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) develops sustainability criteria for attractions.

It is Camilla Zedendahl, CEO of the Royal Djurgården Society (Kungliga Djurgårdens Intressenter), and Jan Naumburg, Sustainability Strategist at the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums (SMTM), who have been invited to participate in the group. The invitation came after several international recognitions for Djurgården’s strategic work to develop the destination long term sustainably. The advisory board includes representatives from ten global organizations. For Djurgården, the work provides an opportunity to learn and share experiences and knowledge.

– We are thrilled to be part of this important process. We at Kungliga Djurgården take sustainable tourism seriously. With 22 museums, several music stages and gardens, and Gröna Lund’s tivoli on the island, we feel an extra commitment to the issue. We hope and believe that we can contribute in a significant way, says Camilla Zedendahl.

Sustainable tourism is defined in several sectors

Today there are global sustainability criteria for destinations, hotels, and restaurants. In 2023, GSTC has begun work on developing two new sets of criteria. This in sectors that have so far lacked a universally accepted framework. This applies to meetings and attractions. Djurgården is now participating as an advisor in the development process. A process that aims to establish a global framework with sustainability criteria for attractions.

– With a long-term commitment to sustainability and as a representative of several museums, I am honored to contribute to this process. The work is completely in line with our ambition to exhibit and care for our maritime cultural heritage in a sustainable and responsible way, continues Jan Naumburg, who represents the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums, with the Vasa Museum, Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, and the National Maritime Museum at Djurgården.

Work on the new frameworks will continue in the coming year. It will also be part of GSTC24 – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s annual conference coming to Stockholm and Djurgården in April 2024.

Background GSTC

During the early 2000s, the number of sustainability labels in the tourism sector increased rapidly. Many different labels and poor transparency made it difficult for tourists to compare and understand what they meant in practice. Therefore, the UN agencies United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and United Nations Foundation together with the Rainforest Alliance and thirty other organizations formed a coalition. The coalition, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, was tasked with creating a common global language that defines what sustainable tourism means.

Standards and criteria for sustainable tourism

The first step towards a standardized language for sustainable tourism was to develop a set of universal and globally accepted criteria from which to start. The criteria link to all the UN’s 17 sustainability goals. Just like the UN goals they descirbe what must be achieved but not how. According to GSTC, effective and transparent sustainability work must ensure that tourism’s benefits are maximized, and its negative impacts are minimized. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria form the basis of a global standard. Based on these, GSTC gives international accreditation to a few organizations that are entitled to certify sustainable tourism. Today there are three accredited certification bodies for destinations: Green Destinations, Earth Check and Vireo.

Green Destinations Platinum Award 2022 to Royal Djurgården

In autumn 2022, Royal Djurgården Society (Kungliga Djurgårdens Intressenter) received the Green Destinations Platinum Award after an audit that showed that Djurgården met 94% of the set sustainability criteria for destinations. This as one of the first metropolitan destinations globally.

The work with global sustainability criteria for attractions relates to all of the UN’s 17 sustainability goals.