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Towards a more competitive and sustainable Nordic tourism industry

The tourism industry has been booming in the Nordic countries over the recent years, leading to both new challenges and possibilities. “Over-tourism”, with negative impacts on environment and increased pressure on infrastructure and local communities, but also economic growth and social inclusion, indicate the complexity and ambivalence related to tourism investment. At the same time, tourism is a sector that affects multiple parts of the economy.

As a part of the Tourism in the Nordics special initiative, Nordic Innovation supports a new project with the aim to investigate challenges of the Nordic tourism industry as well as to develop and test new solutions addressing those challenges.  

The purpose of XNordic Travel Contest is to support the Nordic tourism industry to become more sustainable and at the same time more competitive.

Read more about the project

Identifying and solving challenges of Nordic tourism

XNordic Travel Contest will invite the Nordic tourism industry and business to help identify and to find solutions to the most important challenges facing Nordic tourism in the coming years.

"Our approach will be cross-Nordic surveys, industry interviews and six workshops across the Nordic region. Once we have the problems identified, we will invite innovators and start-ups in helping us develop and test shared solutions to address the problems", says Signe Mouridsen, Project Manager at XNordic Travel Contest.

The workshops will have a 100% Nordic footprint and take place in Stockholm, Roskilde, Helsinki, Nuuk, Bodø and Reykjavik. Each workshop will welcome 30 participants from the Nordic tourism industry, both private and public, including commercial businesses and suppliers, destination organisations and local tourism authorities.  

"In the workshops, we will identify, unfold and finally prioritize the main challenges to the competitive and sustainable development of Nordic tourism together with representatives of the Nordic tourism industry", Signe explains.

"It will be both fun and challenging, as we will try to break down the problems as far as we can, and unfold them into real, industry-relevant issues that can serve as starting points for the upcoming call for solutions", she continues.

A key project in the Nordic Tourism special Initiative

The purpose of the Tourism in the Nordics special initiative is to facilitate Nordic cooperation on innovation in the tourism industry and contribute to a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable region. The focus is on the development of new sustainable business models and innovative digital solutions. XNordic Travel Contest will play a key role in facilitating this cooperation.

"We used to talk about competitive advantage, but in tackling sustainable futures, the collaborative advantage of the Nordic countries and destinations is our most important superpower. With the XNordic Travel Contest, we are leveraging that superpower in all phases of the project; collaboratively identifying the biggest challenges and inviting new thinking and innovation in addressing these challenges."

Working together with start-ups and innovators

After the six workshops, the project will move into its next phase and start looking for solutions to the identified challenges. In late summer 2023, startups and innovators will be invited to address the identified problems with new solutions which will be followed by a test phase.    

"We will host Solution Camps and Design Sprints across the Nordic region and in the beginning of 2024, we will start testing the most promising solutions together with industry partners", says Signe Mouridsen, Project Manager at XNordic Travel Contest.  

"We hope the project will be able to present innovative and industry-relevant solutions for more sustainable tourism futures across the Nordic region. In addition, we don’t see the XNordic Travel Contest as simply a project limited in time. We see it as a collaborative and experimental innovation process, which can inspire and inform future Nordic collaboration", Signe adds.

If you would like to participate in the XNordic Travel Contest, you can register here:


The project is led by Group NAO in collaboration with Happy42 and Design Nation.


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.


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.