Accelerating Destination Transformation
Skellefteå is already the centre of the green transition in Europe and home to Northvolt, the largest green battery manufacturer. Each year more companies are drawn to the region which will ensure rapid population growth.
In order to manage an influx of up to 20 000 more people in the next two decades a sustainable strategy is vital. Skellefteå will participate in the GDS-Index to benchmark its sustainable tourism and events achievements to date, and to better understand the areas of improvement for future tourism development, ensuring that it represents a thriving destination, attractive to work, live in and visit.
Skellefteå was a Departures Legend Awards honouree, recognised for its approach to urban development that reduces carbon consumption and emissions and is suitable for a growing population. Their focus is on using wood to rebuild. Wood is a renewable and sustainable source of construction material and there is a law that for every tree cut down, two must be planted.
Skellefteå, already offers many of the great benefits of being a sustainable destination with access to 100 % renewable energy, close proximity to nature, and companies at the forefront of recycling, automatization, electrification, and green building techniques.
Skellefteå, as part of the EU Region Övre Norrland, also tops the list of EU’s social progress index.
The GDS-Movement emerged out of the need to unite and enable destination management professionals to create flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live. The movement provides a suite of tools and services to help destinations map strategies to enable them to become more circular, inclusive and resilient and have greater positive impact on their environment and communities. One of these tools is the GDS-Index.
Maria Broman, CEO Visit Skellefteå had this to say about why they have chosen the GDS-Index: As a DMO, we want to be an active part of Skellefteå’s green transition. Tourism is an essential part of societal development and in creating a destination that is sustainable, diverse and welcoming for everybody. We believe that working together is the key to reach the UN Development goals and make destinations more sustainable. The GDS Index is an important tool to help us in this process and it is a way to improve our agenda and strategy for sustainability, making it the top priority in everything we do.
Cecilia Frank, Project Manager for Meeting and Events at Visit Skellefteå further added: It was our neighbouring city Umeå , that inspired us to take part of the GDS Index process. We work very closely to position our part of Sweden as an attractive place for people to live in and to visit. Now we can say that we are both part of a global movement to make our destinations more attractive, resilient and regenerative.
Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the GDS-Movement, acknowledged the destination: “Skellefteå’s commitment to further deepen their strategic goals towards delivering a thriving place to work, live in and visit, and one that has ingrained resilience in the future is yet another example of their already focused and ambitious targets towards sustainability. We are delighted to be able to work together on this critical journey.”
This film, sums it all up. Skellefteå is all about sustainability, vision and great, wooden buildings
Right at the heart of Skellefteå, Sara Kulturhus (cultural centre) is taking form. It will be one of the tallest timber, carbon neutral buildings in the world. The wood used has been sourced by timber that has grown in the regional boreal forests. Solar cells and efficient energy systems further contribute to minimising the centre’s climate footprint.
The wood is sourced from sustainable forestry, so the harvested trees get replaced. The planted trees capture CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow, while the carbon dioxide stored within the refined timber products is locked into the building.
Sara Kulturhus contributes to the long tradition of wood construction in Skellefteå combined with the latest engineering. This makes it a shining example of sustainable design and construction.
Including a new premium hotel, this building will become Skellefteås new hub for art, concerts, shows, meetings and congresses. With 20 floors it will offer a unique meeting place and, at day’s end, a relaxing break at the hotel’s spa and dinner in the restaurant before retiring to rest in the first-class accommodation.
The grand opening is set for the 8th of September