Photo credit: Viggo Lundberg/

Destination West Sweden:Sustainability Showcase

Blessed with dense forests, mountains, archipelagos and thousands of lakes, West Sweden is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise, actively promoting itself as a sustainable destination. To protect its pristine landscape, West Sweden has implemented measures to safeguard its natural wealth while reducing carbon emissions and limiting pollution.

This commitment is exemplified by the region’s best known city, Gothenburg, dubbed “world’s most sustainable destination” for seven years in a row. Beyond its capital city, West Sweden has been busy embracing sustainability throughout the tourism value chain, keen to earn its spot among world’s sustainability leaders.

Read along as we explore West Sweden’s sustainability objectives, destination strategies, and accomplishments.

Curious how destinations in other parts of the world approach sustainability? Visit our leading sustainable destinations section for additional stories and good practice examples!

How does Destination West Sweden focus on sustainability?

In the heart of Scandinavia, West Sweden is pioneering the journey towards sustainability in tourism. With its robust public transport network and an array of innovative transport solutions, the region is redefining eco-friendly travel. West Sweden’s commitment shines as a beacon for those seeking greener travel alternatives, challenging the status quo of carbon-heavy journeys.

The surge in interest towards nature tourism further enhances West Sweden’s allure. This trend celebrates the region’s pristine landscapes and invites adventurers to immerse themselves in the authentic Swedish outdoor lifestyle.

Answering the call of the wild, the West Sweden Tourist Board has unveiled the “Stepping up Sustainability” initiative. This forward-thinking program champions sustainable tourism development through public-private collaborations. It’s a shared journey towards sustainability, sparking innovation and mutual inspiration among all stakeholders. Over 600 companies and 46 municipalities are working together to create a more sustainable tourism sector.

The “Stepping up Sustainability” initiative is built on four pillars:

  • As little unnecessary environmental impact as possible
    The initiative promotes the domestic and the near European markets,
    sustainable transport and extended stays, reducing the ecological footprint and enriching travel experiences.
  • Good for both residents and visitors
    By fostering initiatives that draw visitors who actively contribute to the region’s vibrancy and sustainability. It’s a strategy that nurtures local businesses and the community.
  • More visitors when and where places are not full
    An even occupancy for most of the year and in large parts of West Sweden provides the right conditions to create long-term sustainable tourism. Therefore focus on targeted development and marketing campaigns to clearly influence where and when visitors travel.
  • More full-time jobs and more resilient businesses
    This involves creating sustainable job opportunities, enhancing the
    attractiveness of the workplace, and fostering long-term partnerships for a stronger, more sustainable tourism industry.

West Sweden - Sustainability in Practice

Climate-Smart Holidays

In West Sweden, one of the key sustainable tourism initiatives revolves around climate-smart holidays, designed to minimize carbon emissions. Visitors are encouraged to book stays with local accommodations that prioritize sustainability in every aspect, including lodging, dining, and activities. To reduce emissions, transportation from the nearest train station is provided via electric car.

  • Choose eco-friendly accommodations that practice waste reduction, energy efficiency, and recycling.
  • Explore the surroundings by hiking, cycling, and paddling causing minimum damage to the environment.
  • Indulge in locally sourced food delicacies produced sustainably by local farmers, growers, hunters, and breeders.

Meet the locals

This initiative from West Sweden Tourist Board offers visitors a chance to experience the region through the eyes of its residents. Through this program, locals open their homes or guide guests to their favorite spots, providing an authentic and off the beaten path perspective of the region, fostering connections and cultural exchange. The initiative encourages people to interact, share stories, and discover unique aspects of everyday Swedish life together.

Smart Transport

West Sweden prioritizes eco-friendly and accessible transportation, making it easy for visitors to explore Gothenburg and West Sweden. This commitment to sustainable mobility is reflected in the region’s environmentally friendly transportation options, showcasing its dedication to offering diverse and environmentally conscious tourism experiences.

  • Walking and Cycling in Gothenburg:
    • West Sweden has invested in pedestrian-friendly streets and dedicated cycling paths in Gothenburg, making it convenient for visitors to explore the city on foot or by bicycle.
    • The city’s public transport system complements walking and cycling.
  • Public Transport Options:
    • The region boasts excellent train connections and convenient bus services, reducing the need for car travel.
    • Visitors can opt for trams, boats, or rental bikes/electric cars for shorter journeys.
  • Cycling and Hiking Trails:
    • West Sweden has developed a network of cycling and hiking trails, catering to various interests and skill levels.
    • These trails showcase the region’s natural beauty while promoting outdoor activities that align with sustainable tourism principles.
  • Water-Based Exploration:
    • Visitors can immerse themselves in West Sweden’s coastal landscapes by kayaking along the Bohuslän archipelago on the west coast of Sweden or canoeing in serene waters in Dalsland.
Credit: Destination West Sweden
Credit: Tourism West Sweden
Credit: Erik Nissen Johansen
Credit: Lukasz Warzecha
Credit: Copenhagen Wilderness

Other sustainability initiatives in West Sweden

In Gothenburg, visitors can explore sustainable fashion and vintage clothing options. Local brands in the city are renowned for their commitment to sustainability, offering jeans and shoes with lifetime repairs and a focus on becoming climate positive.

Additionally, efforts to create a circular clothing industry are evident, with brands ensuring that 100% of their collections are either recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable, or Bluesign certified. For those interested in second-hand shopping, Gothenburg offers various shops to explore while strolling through the city.

Behind the Scenes: Interview

We caught up with Fredrik Lindén and Marie Linde of the West Sweden Tourist Board to hear more about their vision, strategy, and the collaborative spirit that drives West Sweden’s sustainability initiatives.

Read the interview here.

Explore further:

Our thanks to West Sweden for sharing the resources and information used for this destination showcase.