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For responsible travel

In order for the tourism industry to be able to respond to changing demand and secure its future, development must be sustainable. For this purpose, Visit Finland has developed the Sustainable Travel Finland programme for tourism companies and destinations. The destinations and companies that undergo the entire programme and meet the criteria, are awarded with Sustainable Travel Finland label.

Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) programme provides companies and destinations with a concrete toolkit for developing sustainable tourism, which makes it easier to systematically adopt sustainable measures and choices into the everyday life of a region or company. The programme is free of charge and designed for all tourism stakeholders in Finland.

Companies and destinations awarded with STF label have access to a continuous development model, the latest information on the sustainable travel development, marketing support, and additional visibility through Visit Finland’s channels.

The sustainable travel development path

The Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) programme offers companies and tourism destinations a 7-step sustainable tourism development path that educates the user. Each step is accompanied by criteria that comply with international standards. The programme is traversed and the fulfilment of the criteria verified in the STF Hub; a digital platform purpose-built for the STF programme. When the company/destination has completed the step-specific tasks and verified the fulfilment of the criteria set by the STF programme with the required documents, the application for the STF label will be sent via Visit Finland to a third party for review.

Naturally, sustainable tourism measures will not be fixed all at once. For this reason, STF is a development path. The STF label is renewed regularly so that we can be sure of continuous development. The STF programme and its criteria are also updated at regular intervals to ensure that the operations of tourism operators comply with the tightening responsibility obligations.

In addition to STF Hub, STF programme is supported by Sustainable Tourism Guide, which provides its user with an extensive information on developing tourism in sustainable manner; all information in one location.

The company or destination that has received the STF label has taken at least the following actions and thus meets the minimum criteria of the STF program:

Step 1. Commitment (to continuous development)

  • Formal decision to progress sustainable tourism
  • Commitment to the national principles of sustainable tourism
  • Appointing a sustainability coordinator

Step 2. Competence building

  • Familiarisation with the Sustainable Tourism Guide
  • Company participates in sustainable tourism training by in Visit Finland Academy
  • Destination organises Visit Finland Academy's sustainable tourism training for its company network
  • Mapping and analysing the current state through the self-assessment of the STF programme

Step 3. Certification

  • Company has a third-party audited certificate (accepted under STF umbrella) supporting sustainable tourism
  • Destinations: 51% of the tourism companies within destination’s network have STF label, or the destination has a GSTC-accredited destination level certificate and an action plan to put companies in the area on the STF path, and all the way to the STF label.

Step 4. Sustainability communication

  • Communicating sustainable tourism measures, plans and goals transparently to the public, completely eliminating greenwashing

Step 5. Sustainable Tourism Indicator system

  • Commitment to national sustainable tourism indicators, and annual input of indicator data through the monitoring form

Step 6. Development plan

  • Submitting a sustainable tourism development plan
  • The development plan includes a description of the company and its current state, and an up-to-date sustainability action plan
  • The development plan takes into account all the company's activities to which the STF label applies
  • Both the development plan and action plan take into account all dimensions of sustainability (economic, ecological, socio-cultural).
  • The development plan corresponds to a minimum content requirement, which takes into account international standards.

Step 7. Application: verification & agreement

  • Contract on the ethical use of the STF label
  • Commit to regularly updating the sustainable tourism competence, development plan, action plan, indicator monitoring form and certificate, which are required for the renewal of the STF label. The STF label is renewed approximately every 2 years
  • The application for the STF label is sent via Visit Finland for evaluation by a third party.

Participation from the entire region with coaching

Visit Finland Academy has a coaching day specifically designed to support the Sustainable Travel Finland programme. Sustainable Travel Finland coaching is a great way to get the regional sustainable travel programme off the ground. Concrete and practical coaching provides good basic knowledge and a starting point for systematically promoting sustainable travel at the company level.

The coaching day is making it easy to move to the Sustainable Travel Finland online platform (STF Hub) at the end of the day and start the journey towards the Sustainable Travel Finland label. While all the coaching follows the same conceptual outline, it’s always tailored to the region’s specific needs.

The coaching is an inspiring start to the Sustainable Travel Finland development path, and the active participation of each participant is an important part of the success of the coaching day.

In addition to basic STF training, Visit Finland Academy provides several advanced modules on sustainability. Further training deepens the competence of sustainable tourism. The modules can be tailored to suit the needs of region's business network, which will systematically increase the expertise of the entire region.

Join the sustainable travel Finland programme

The STF programme's new digital platform STF Hub was launched in October 2023. You can now apply for the STF program by registering in the STF Hub.

You log in to STF Hub with your BF ID, which is the common username for Business Finland's online services. The ID is created with strong identification. After creating an account, you can log in to STF Hub using your e-mail address and password.

The programme is suitable for all travel companies and regions located in Finland (regional organisations; destinations). Even if you have not yet initiated sustainable development measures, you can and should join because the programme provides the necessary tools to promote sustainable travel. The person filling in the application must be the coordinator of sustainable travel for the company or destination. 

At the moment, STF programme is only in Finnish, but there will be translations. 

Apply & register for the programme here!

Recipients of the STF label

It became possible to apply for the Sustainable Travel Finland label on 1 June 2020, and by September 2023 5 destinations and 367 companies offering more than 1000 travel experiences in Finland have already achieved the STF label! Get to know STF-labelled companies and learn more about Finland's responsible travel offering on the Visit Finland website.