Estonians have for centuries lived their lives in close relation to nature and cherishing their cultural traditions and heritage. We care about it and depend on it.
It is almost like a religion, it has helped us through the soviet occupation and today, while living in cities, we all have our ways to reach out to nature and culture: family cottage in countryside with sauna, jogging or berry picking in forests, frequent bog walks in the national parks, surfing, kayaking, fishing, dancing folk dances and singing in choirs. No wonder we have 150-years of song and dance festival with more than 30 000 singers and 10 000 dancers coming together. It is UNESCO listed along with Seto singing tradition, medieval Old Town of Tallinn, Kihnu islander's traditional lifestyle and South-Estonian smoke saunas, the list goes on.
Tallinn Old Town
Another good example about caring and a great sustainable initiative is World Cleanup Day. It is one of the biggest civic movements of our time, uniting 180 countries across the world for a cleaner planet. This world-changing idea began in Estonia, in 2008. 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just five hours.
The main objective of our national tourism policy is to make Estonia internationally competitive and to support our businesses to be resilient to changes. Sustainability is one of our three strategic principles. Visit Estonia is a proud member of Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) since 2021.
Visit Estonia plays a key role in educating DMOs in Estonia about importance of sustainability and advocates development of sustainable tourism products. Tourism development in Estonia is strongly supporting local traditional lifestyle, creates positive attitude and gives an opportunity for the visitor to experience the authentic. The 3 pillars are nature, authentic culture and local food.
Visit Estonia has developed a program for Estonian destinations and has piloted it with 7 of them: Saare, Hiiu, Järva and Pärnu county, Rakvere, Lahemaa and Tartu. Green Destinations Estonian program is aiming to make locals proud and visitors value it. The program provides destinations a special toolkit to define and develop sustainable measures to be able to act in a more responsible way and offer visitors an overall sustainable experience in the destination. As a result of the programme all 7 piloting destinations have received Green Destinations Awards in 2021 after international assessment of the destinations.
EHE – Authentic Estonia
Estonian rural tourism enterprises have EHE-label. It is a quality-label for tourism products and services in compliance with the principles of eco-tourism. The objective of the EHE-mark is to promote the principles of eco-tourism among tourism enterprises and visitors.
Estonian tourism enterprises develop their sustainability by applying a Green Key label. The Green Key award is a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. Green Key stands for an establishment’s promise to its guests that by opting to stay with such an establishment, they are helping to make a difference on an environmental and sustainability level.
Open the door with the Green Key!
Dugout boat in Soomaa