Top Sustainable Destinations and Cities for 2023

Discover the top sustainable travel destinations and cities for 2023. From eco-friendly Sweden to Melbourne’s green initiatives, learn where responsible travel is headed next.

Euromonitor International's 2023 Sustainable Travel Index ranks Sweden as the world’s most sustainable travel destination.
The index measures countries and cities on factors such as environmental impact, social justice, and tourism infrastructure.
Melbourne leads the list of most sustainable cities, with a focus on reducing its carbon footprint and transitioning to renewable energy.

2023’s Top Sustainable Travel Spots Revealed

Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys, but it often comes with a side of guilt due to its environmental impact. From the carbon footprint of air travel to the strain mass tourism puts on local ecosystems, the downsides can be disheartening. However, a glimmer of hope comes from countries focusing on sustainable travel.

The Titans of Sustainable Travel

Euromonitor International, a leading market research firm, recently published its 2023 Sustainable Travel Index. The comprehensive list, developed using 56 nuanced ranking indicators, highlights the top 20 most eco-friendly travel nations. Caroline Bremner, the head honcho of travel research at Euromonitor, breaks down these indicators into three main categories:

  • General Indicators: These assess the overall well-being of a destination, factoring in happiness, equality, and social justice.
  • Tourism-Specific Indicators: These look at the localized environmental impact of tourism, such as energy usage by hotels.
  • Tourism Infrastructure and Demand: This encompasses the quality of tourist infrastructure and how much the country relies on international tourists.

In a testament to the continent’s green efforts, 19 of the top 20 countries are in Europe, with a lone ranger from South America making the cut.

Sweden: The Pinnacle of Sustainable Travel

Sweden is on a quest to be “the world’s most sustainable and attractive destination based on innovation” by 2030, and it shows. It’s not just empty talk; they’ve put their money where their mouth is. How? For starters, the public transport in Stockholm is powered entirely by renewable energy, an achievement realized back in 2017. Additionally, they’ve encouraged over 250 hotels to get certified by the Nordic Ecolabel, a tough environmental watchdog. Then there’s the Nature’s Best ecotourism charter, which gives a nod to tour operators committed to sustainable travel.

The trendsetter nation has held the top position for several years. One big driver, according to Bremner, is the rise of the flight-shaming movement in Sweden, which has led to a significant drop in domestic flights.

🏆 Top 20 Eco Travel Countries

Here’s a snapshot of the top 20:

  1. Sweden
  2. Finland
  3. Austria
  4. Estonia
  5. Norway
  6. Slovakia
  7. Slovenia
  8. Iceland
  9. Latvia
  10. Switzerland
  11. France
  12. Lithuania
  13. Denmark
  14. Czech Republic
  15. Germany
  16. Portugal
  17. Croatia
  18. Uruguay
  19. Romania
  20. Poland

Caroline Bremner credits Sweden’s consistent top ranking partly to its flight-shaming movement, which led to a dramatic dip in domestic flights. She also notes the cultural and environmental care that pushed Sweden and Finland to the top spots, emphasizing their commitment to protecting UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Discover the top sustainable travel destinations and cities for 2023. From eco-friendly Sweden to Melbourne’s green initiatives, learn where responsible travel is headed next.

Cities Taking a Green Stance

While countries make for the macro perspective, cities offer a microcosm of sustainability. Euromonitor International’s report also turns the spotlight on the most sustainable urban centers. Melbourne in Australia spearheads this list, lauded for its extensive green efforts, which include retrofitting buildings to lower carbon emissions and an unwavering commitment to renewable energy.

🏆 Top 10 Most Sustainable Cities:

  1. Melbourne
  2. Madrid
  3. Seville
  4. Stockholm
  5. Tallinn
  6. Toronto
  7. Palma de Mallorca
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Lisbon
  10. Munich

Melbourne’s dedication to eco-friendly practices shines through its ambitious targets. The city aims for net-zero emissions by 2040 and has laid out a comprehensive Emissions Reduction Plan up to 2026, which had already slashed emissions by an impressive 76% in its previous phase.

So, as you’re plotting your next adventure, consider making it a green one. The Earth will thank you, and hey, your conscience will too.

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters is a seasoned news journalist with over two years of experience in the field. Known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis, Marilyn has covered significant global events with an objective lens. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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