Aarhus Harbor with a cruise ship appearing from behind a large building at the waterfront.

Nordic Solutions for More Sustainable Tourism in Harbor Towns

The handbook gives an overview of the project Sustainable Tourism in Nordic Harbor Towns from the pre-project period to running six pilots, and recommendations for municipalities on how to move forward with sustainable tourism in the harbor towns around the Nordic region. The project was run by Green Innovation Group cooperating with local stakeholders.

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Efforts were made to enable the development of common business models for local products and services that could increase the revenue of local businesses while strengthening the integrity of destination branding. This is why the project is aimed at providing especially municipal actors with access to new technologies and collaborations with likeminded stakeholders across the Nordics. Through a sustained effort, it should be possible to ensure the long-term availability of authentic and dynamic tourist experiences that run smoothly for both visitors and operators in ways that support local environments and ways of life.

From Ísafjörður to Aaland Islands and beyond

Even though the covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry hard in 2020 and 2021, the project carried out six pilots in six months. The innovation pilots were run at six locations: Ísafjörður, Oslo, Helsingborg, Aaland Islands, Aarhus and Hamina.

Organizing a project focused on tourism in harbor towns and cruise tourism in the midst of a global pandemic, with travel restrictions and shutdown of the cruise industry is a significant challenge.

- Svein Berg, Managing Director at Nordic Innovation.


Locations: Helsingborg and Aaland Islands.
Cruncho’s platform diversifies the visitor’s experience and allows local representatives to feature specific attractions or venues that synergize with local needs. Facilitating greater public support for more integrated tourism practices is one of the key challenges outlined by Nordic municipalities, and this is addressed directly by this technology.

Donkey Republic

Locations: Ísafjörður and Hamina.
Donkey Republic, a bicycle mobility company, ran two pilots in Ísafjörður, Iceland and Hamina, Finland. The population in the two towns range from 2 700 to 19 900, but have that in common that cruise tourism presents a challenge for both the towns and its inhabitants for a few weeks every year.


Location: Aarhus.
Solutions that replace single-use takeaway service are already spreading across restaurants and cafés in Aarhus. However, the link that closes the loop between venues and customers returning their containers has been missing. With the collaboration in this project, they were able to develop a new prototype that utilizes sensor technology and tailored software to facilitate the takeback of reusable service for tourists at Dokk1.


Location: Oslo.
Oslo Innovation District cooperated with Viggo’s pilot, an electric ride-sharing service, in an effort dedicated to increase the green mobility of tourism in the city and harbor area. For some visitors this meant replacing fossil-based trips with emission free movement, while others replaced generic sight-seeing with unique local experiences. Every trip displays the kilos of CO2 saved, making visible the efforts towards sustainability more visible .

Read more about the outcome of the pilots, the background for the project and the handbook for innovation in Nordic municipalities by clicking the button below.

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The following partners participated in the pre-project and project

  • Stavanger Smart City
  • Ísafjarðarbær Municipality
  • Visit Helsingborg
  • Innovation District Oslo, City Centre
  • Visit Åland and Aland.com
  • Visit Kotka Hamina
  • Dokk1, Aarhus
  • Visby Municipality
  • Destination Bornholm, Rønne
  • Visit Tórshavn and Tórshavn Municipality
  • Donkey Republic
  • Cruncho
  • GRIN
  • Viggo

Read more about the project Sustainable Tourism in Nordic Harbor Towns


Portrait Rasmus Malmborg

Rasmus Malmborg

Senior Innovation Adviser
Rasmus has extensive international experience in complex project management, predominantly within health care system development. Prior to joining Nordic Innovation, Rasmus has been with LHL International for nine years and worked the last four years as CEO.

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