February 7, 2019 Eco-Adventures Without End
The sweeping landscapes in West Sweden and natural ethos of the Swedes combine to provide sustainable experiences that the adventurous just can’t get enough of.
Following venues in Tuscany, Argentina and Alaska, this year’s Adventure Travel World Summit will be held in Gothenburg, located in West Sweden. The summit will be hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) whose Executive Director of Europe & Central Asia, Chris Doyle, has no doubt Gothenburg will match its predecessors in terms of adventurous allure. And he’s one to know – he currently resides in the region.
“One reason we chose Sweden for the 2019 summit,” Chris Doyle explains, “was because when it comes to sustainability, Sweden doesn’t even have to try.”
Indeed, Gothenburg was designated as “the most sustainable city in the world” based on the results of the 2017 Global Destination Sustainability Index.” Where does this come from, one wonders?
The Swedish Psyche
Chris Doyle points to the Swede’s unique connection with and access to nature:
“In Gothenburg, you can get out into the forests and archipelago to camp, kayak or mountain bike just like that,” he explains, with an emphatic snap of his fingers.
This connection, he continues, is embedded in Sweden’s Right of Public Access – entitling Swedes and visitors alike to roam just about everywhere on the precondition that they do not damage the environment. And roam they do! Children are imbued with a deep understanding for nature, and seasonal foraging is a popular activity for both rural and urban Swedish families.
“Even my two-year-old can point out edible mushrooms and berries,” explains Chris Doyle, with more than a hint of a father’s pride.
With regard to sustainable tourism, Chris Doyle sees the local developments as positive: “West Sweden is seeing an increase in operators, but they all have ‘sustainability’ as their middle name.”
A far cry from package tourism, visitors to West Sweden are offered the full Swedish experience.
“Local operators have begun pairing the adventure with other experiences,” Chris Doyle explains, and continues: “Such as exploring the culinary traditions, whereby guests are served locally sourced seafood, seasonal produce and foraged delicacies. Then, have the guests cook these on a camping stove under the open sky – people love this stuff.”
As to adventure, one needn’t look far. Sweden offers Europe’s largest forest cover and is speckled with 100,000 lakes and countless heritage sites, many dating back to the stone age. Add to that the 8,000 islands of the Western Archipelago, and the exploration potential is virtually without limit.