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Sustainable tourism, events and urban marketing

Ensuring sustainable growth is the city’s most important task. This is linked to SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), which also highlights the promotion of sustainable tourism. The tourism and event industry is a key part of the city’s vitality as the capital. Sustainability has also been put at the forefront of the development of tourism, events and urban marketing in Helsinki. Responsibility is emphasised in the development of tourism and in the Roadmap for Events. In 2020–2021, Helsinki is also co-ordinating the Carbon-neutral Tourism project, whose the long-term goal is to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and increasing energy efficiency in the tourism sector.
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Responsibility increases Helsinki’s attractiveness and competitive advantage

Urban marketing has highlighted sustainability, equality and nature as Helsinki’s strengths. Through responsibility, Helsinki seeks a competitive advantage internationally, attracts experts and companies to Helsinki and supports the sustainable growth of visitors. The aim is to make Helsinki a world leader in sustainable solutions and a pioneer in responsibility.

Helsinki Marketing’s digital service Think Sustainably helps locals and visitors to choose more sustainable ways to live in Helsinki and enjoy their time in the city. The service is based on criteria for more responsible choices tailored for Helsinki, which highlight local operators and services that invest in responsibility in their operations, such as restaurants, shops, destinations, events, venues and accommodation options.

Helsinki Marketing’s Helsinki Freedom concept aims to attract international experts to Helsinki. The concept presents ten cornerstones of good life in Helsinki, which are strongly related to various themes of responsibility. In Helsinki, freedom means that everyone can live their own kind of life.

The Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) index measures destinations using social and environmental responsibility indicators. Helsinki is one of the founding members of the index as part of the ICCA Scandinavian Chapter. In 2019, Helsinki was ranked 17th among 50 cities.

Events are an important part of urban culture

Events are the best possible means of supporting and implementing the goals of the city strategy for an international, vibrant and fascinating city. Helsinki’s events are original, diverse, responsible and functional.

The offering of events has been developed in Helsinki for a long time with notable results. The city is one of the most popular congress destinations in Northern Europe.

Helsinki has many hard-working event producers on both a small and large scale. High-quality and easily accessible cultural and sports events bring people together and increase mutual understanding.

The events have complex social and cultural impacts as well as strong economic multiplier effects. A Roadmap for Events has been developed in Helsinki to support and develop cooperation related to events.

The tourism and event sectors have been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and it is still difficult to assess how these sectors will recover after the crisis.


  • Helsinki won a top position in the European Commission’s new European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 competition.
  • The Think Sustainably service has encouraged more than 90% of users to take concrete steps to increase responsibility (Impact Analysis 2019, Demos Helsinki).

Development targets

  • As part of the recovery from COVID-19, focusing support measures on the divisions and particularly on sustainable tourism and event production.
  • Developing carbon footprint calculation in the tourism, restaurant and event sectors and thereby reducing the carbon footprint on the basis of lessons learned in projects.
  • Developing tourism-related mobility services through concepts like Mobility as a Service, particularly involving maritime transport.

Links to related programmes, reports and websites