Estonia ranks fourth in sustainable tourism index

Estonia has been ranked in a high fourth place in the international sustainable tourism index, with Sweden in first place, Finland as second and Austria as third.

Every year, the international research company Euromonitor International compiles a scoreboard that ranks countries globally for their performance in sustainable tourism. The 2022 index, released this autumn, ranks 99 countries based on the environmental, social and economic impact of tourism.

“While Sweden and Finland have consistently been at the absolute top of the table, Estonia has been in the top 10 for the past few years, but this is the first time that we have been ranked as high as fourth,” said Rainer Aavik, the head of tourism at the joint agency of EAS and Kredex.

Aavik said the high ranking will be one of the strongest arguments in international marketing for Estonia in the near future.

“While spontaneously, based on experience, and as patriots of their country, many Estonians probably talk about the stillness and silence of the bog and the opportunity so rare in the world to enjoy a beautiful sandy beach on a hot summer day without jostle – but it’s another thing when it has been weighed up by different indicators and included in a comparative ranking,” he said.

Biking in Taevaskoja, Estonia. Photo by Katrin Laurson.

Europe the most successful globally in sustainable tourism

When analysing the impact of tourism, Euromonitor takes into account seven indicators. Estimates of the natural environment, social and economic sustainability, and the risks affecting travel add up to 40 per cent, or 10 per cent each individually. Estimates of tourism service demand and environmentally friendly accommodation and transport total 60 per cent, or 20 per cent for each individual indicator.

Besides, sub-indicators are measured within these broad categories, such as pollution, renewable energy, land and water use, and average temperature as part of environmental sustainability; happiness and corruption indices, access to education and natural resources in the context of social sustainability; and over-tourism, average visitor expenditure and the contribution of tourism revenues to the community, among other things, in the context of demand for tourism services.

Travelling with a camper van in Estonia. Photo by Margus Kontus.

Europe is the most successful globally in the sustainable tourism index, with 18 of the top 20 countries located in Europe. Estonia is followed by Norway in fifth place in the 2022 index, with Latvia in ninth place and Lithuania 12th.

The study also looked at the willingness of consumers in different countries to pay more for sustainable tourism services. On average, visitors in different countries were most willing to pay a price higher by 10-30 per cent.

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