Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen represented Helsinki at the international UNWTO Global Summit onUrban Tourism top summit in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The summit focused on the concept of Smart Cities, Smart Destinations.
In line with the UN’s New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, smart cities have the potential to make cities more manageable, accessible and environmentally friendly for both residents and tourists. UNWTO’s international tourism summit focused on how the cities can address complex urban challenges.
The declaration that was approved for signing at the summit recalls, among other things, that 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030 and that cities are increasingly popular as tourism destinations. The declaration also includes a commitment to developing tourism through the furthering of innovations, technology, accessibility and sustainable development in tourism. It also includes a commitment to promote a culture of open data and new approaches to technology, such as mobility-as-a-service smartphone solutions.
"When Helsinki succeeds in its ambition to be the most functional City in the world to its residents, then we are also an interesting city for tourists. The City is a platform for new innovations and offers open data - using these elements we work with our partners to make a better City", step by step, said Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen in her speech.
Helsinki has been a pioneer in the development of sustainable and digital tourism services. Last year, Helsinki received the first prize, with Lyon of France, in the European Capital of Smart Tourism Competition and the best place in Juniper Research’s study concerning digital tourism services.
Helsinki is currently drafting a programme for sustainable tourism, in which the City takes a stand on several sectors of tourism. The programme will adhere to the UN’s sustainable development goals and it will also support Helsinki’s goal to be carbon-neutral by the year 2035.