Joy Mogensen talking in a meeting

Nordic tourism experts met to discuss challenges faced by the industry

The first two workshops of the X-Nordic Travel Contest took place in Stockholm and Roskilde on 27 – 30 March.   

The purpose of X-Nordic Travel Contest is to develop the Nordic tourism industry to become more sustainable and at the same time more competitive. The foundation of the project is laid through six workshops where tourism experts meet to discuss challenges faced by the industry.  

We still have spots left for Helsinki, Bodø and Reykjavik - sign up here

Well-defined problem for better solutions 

More than 50 organizations from the industry, including hotel managers, travel agencies, museums and business councils, registered for the first two Nordic workshops.  

Following inspiration from presentations and key findings from cross-Nordic research, the main purpose of the workshops is to identify relevant challenges of the tourism industry that call for new and shared solutions.  

Without a well-defined problem, it is difficult to find a good solution, as Signe Jungersted, Project Director and CEO at Group NAO explains:  

“With the X-Nordic Travel Contest, we need to really focus on identifying the relevant problems – and defining what exactly that problem is, its impact, effect - and on who. That's what we do in these inspiring workshops with the tourism industry all across the Nordics. And only based on that will we be able to invite for open and relevant development of solutions in the next stage of the project”.

“I especially like the ‘slow elevator example’. If we only focus on the speed of the elevator as the problem, we limit our solution space. But what is really the problem? Who is experiencing it and how? The problem can then be reframed to more problems: that it’s boring, that it feels like a waste of time. And all of a sudden, the solution space is changed. We can add mirrors or music to keep elevator riders entertained and time will at least feel like its passing faster”. 

Emil Gejrot, Signe Jungersted, Signe Mouridsen

Sustainability: a key challenge for the tourism industry

The process of identifying relevant challenges included an analysis of what has caused the problem? who is this a problem for? And who is affected by the problem?, based on a collaborative methodology developed specifically for the X-Nordic Travel Contest workshops.

The discussions revealed that sustainability is an important aspect of modern tourism and will continue to be in the future. Some expressed concern about finding the right balance between expectations for luxury products while at the same time being able to live up to the increasing sustainability standards. Other participants found the growing demand for technical and interactive solutions incompatible with sustainability.  

“One of the biggest challenges today is related to climate and sustainability. We see in our research that the challenge related to sustainable business models is among the biggest problems faced by the tourism industry”, says Signe Jungersted.

“The sustainability agenda is growing year by year. According to a survey by, 71% of the respondents say that they want to make more of an effort in the next year to travel more sustainably. This is up 10% from the year before”, she continues.

Also challenges related to labor shortage and global economy were identified as top challenges for the tourism industry.

Towards more sustainable and competitive tourism solutions

X-Nordic Travel Contest will continue with another four workshops taking place across the Nordics this spring. The workshops will be followed up by solution camps where innovators and start-ups will work on the identified challenges to find industry relevant solutions for a more sustainable and competitive tourism industry.

We still have spots left - sign up here


The X-Nordic Travel Contest is led by Group NAO in collaboration with Happy42 and Design Nation.

Read more about the project


Emil Gejrot - Innovation Adviser

Emil Gejrot (paternity leave)

Innovation Adviser
Emil has extensive experience of innovation projects and policy analysis in the Nordic region and beyond. Before joining Nordic Innovation, he worked for a research consultancy where he focused on digital transformation, inclusion, and sustainability. He holds an MA in Transcultural Studies and has lived and worked in Sweden, Norway, the UK, and Germany.


Hanna Törmänen Innovation Adviser

Hanna Törmänen

Senior Innovation Adviser
Hanna has background in Nordic and international exports, public-private cooperation, project management and market analysis. Her focus at Nordic Innovation is to support Nordic businesses and ecosystems in their transition towards sustainable and circular business models.