New Sustainable Travel Finland destination

Credits: Arttu Haimi


Kristinestad has received Sustainable Travel Finland label for destinations

With more than 6,000 inhabitants, Kristinestad located in Finnish West-Coast has invested much in developing responsible tourism.
Credits: Arttu Haimi

The recipe for success is sufficient resources, close cooperation with the small town's entrepreneurs and a common desire to develop the sector.

In September 2022, Kristinestad (also called Kristiinankaupunki) became the second Finnish tourism destination to receive Visit Finland's Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) label, the first of which was awarded to Posio destination in 2020. More than half of the companies in Kristinestad that serve international tourists have received the STF label, which is one of the criteria assigned to the programme’s tourism area.  

There are seven criteria in total: the tourist region must commit to the national principles of sustainable tourism, support the growing competence in sustainable development for companies in the region, communicate the sustainable development activities in multiple channels, and prepare a development plan that can be updated, says Hanna Muoniovaara, Visit Finland’s regional partnership manager for the Coast and Archipelago region. 

Janne Smeds, project leader and primus motor for sustainable tourism in Kristinestad, spends half of his time on promoting sustainable tourism. 

‘Earmarking my time in this way has made it possible for me to personally see agents of local companies and help them with, for example, certification work. Sometimes I even help with translations to ensure genuinely bilingual services. To develop tourism, we also work closely with the tourism departments of Vaasa, Pietarsaari and Närpiö,’ says Smeds. 

There are almost 300 wooden dwellings and outbuildings of the old city centre that are protected by city plan regulations.
Credits: Arttu Haimi

"The environment is important to us, this reflects into everything we do, from the sorting of rubbish to our geothermal system."

Eleonora Bed & Breakfast, a six-room accommodation company founded by Camilla Stenholm in the old Wihuri house and designed with sustainability in mind, is also involved in the sustainability work in Kristinestad.  

‘The environment is important to us, this reflects into everything we do, from the sorting of rubbish to our geothermal system. Social sustainability is also important to us, and we have, for example, hired Ukrainian employees in our company,’ says CEO Camilla Stenholm. 

The tourism companies in Kristinestad that have received the Sustainable Travel Finland label are: Cafe Tinka, Eleonora Bed & Breakfast, Hotel Krepelin, Jungman Restaurant Café Bar and Restaurant Crazy Cat. According to Janne Smeds, the work does not end here. 

‘At the traditional Kristinestad autumn market, for the first time, we will present the award for the Sustainable Company of the Year. Hopefully, inspired by the city’s sustainable mark and the award, we will be able to involve more tourism companies,’ says Smeds.