Lakeland Finland – Sustainable Destination Congress


Lakeland Finland – Sustainable Destination Congress brings the participants together to share the recent discoveries for the development of the responsible services and destinations in the transforming world.

Tourism provides a perfect venue to promote sustainable development due to the special relationship between tourists and their host communities. Visitors can interact with hosts to increase their awareness while visiting natural areas and authentic historical sites while bringing tangible economic value and employment creation in local environments. The changing travelling atmosphere and new forms of socialization are changing the behaviors of tourists and their expectations.

Further, tourism brings opportunities and challenges to unique non-mass destinations in the Northern Hemisphere. Sustainable Destination Congress brings together the hosts and communities, tourism professionals, service providers, researchers and entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and increase their awareness of sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices.

Congress is held in the city of Lahti, The European Green Capital 2021.

Lakeland Finland – Sustainable Destination Congress is a part of  the project ”Ympärivuotisuus Lahden matkailun vahvuudeksi 1.9.2020-31.12.2021”.
The project is financed by  the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.

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Thank you for all participants. Congress recording is now available at Lahti Region YouTube -channel.


Day | 15.-24.1. Opening ceremonies Lahti European Green Capital 2021
The year of Lahti as the European Environment Capital 2021 will begin with an exciting opening week on 15-24 January 2021. Welcome to celebrate the opening of the Environment Capital Year for ten days. A colorful and mystical work of sound and light art, Experience Park, will be built in Pikku-Vesijärvi Park. The opening week is also celebrated with eco-friendly dishes from downtown restaurants.

Day | 18.1. Sustainable Destination Congress – ONLY ONLINE

8.30 Coffee

9.00 Welcome
Kimmo Ohtonen, journalist, broadcaster

9.10 Opening the Congress
Mika Lintilä, The Minister of Economic Affairs

9.20 Keynote: Sustainable tourism is the only future for tourism. Getting prepared is a win-win-win -situation. 
Peter Reelfs, Sustainability Advisor, Lecturer, Northflash

10.20 Break

10.30 Panel discussion: Finland is an island and to get here you need to either fly or take a boat. How the national traffic companies are preparing themselves for the new world?
Anne Larilahti, VP Sustainability, Finnair
Marika Nöjd, Communications Director, Tallink Silja
Topi Simola, Senior Vice President, Passenger Services, VR Group

11.30 What is the sustainable travel Finland Label? To help the tourism industry in Finland to adopt sustainable practices, Visit Finland has developed the Sustainable Travel Finland programme. The programme is designed for Finnish tourism companies and destinations to develop more sustainable practices.
Liisa Kokkarinen, Project Director, Sustainable Travel Finland, Visit Finland

12.30 Break 

13.30 Case: Lakeland – How to develop industrial district to Lakeland district 
Heikki Mäkinen, Programme Director, Lake Vesijärvi Foundation

14.15 Geoparks developing sustainable tourism – Best practise from Magma UNESCO Global Geopark: the GEOfood brand for local food and restaurants within UNESCO Global Geoparks in the world, from local to international.
Pål Thjømøe, CEO, Director of Magma UG Geopark, Norway
Sara Gentilini, Project Manager, GEOfood, Norway

15.00 Closing the day
immo Ohtonen

The Mallasjuoma was a brewery founded in 1912 and became a success story, which lasted for many decades. The brewing operations on Päijänteenkatu ended in 1998. Since then, several residential construction projects have been implemented in the brewing area. Only buildings of cultural and historical significance built before the 1950s were protected and saved from demolition. Today, MALSKI is a center of citizens, companies and culture located in the center of Lahti.

What is a geopark?

Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas that have sites and landscapes of international geological significance. A geopark raises awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage and promotes local sites, products and services. Some of the key objectives of geoparks include preserving a region’s natural and cultural heritage, strengthening local identity and promoting sustainable tourism. Read more