Gothenburg – European..." /> Katarina Thorstensson - Nordic Place Branding Conference
14th of June 2022
Host: Helsingborg, Greater Copenhagen Region

Katarina Thorstensson

Gothenburg – European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020  

Katarina Thorstensson is the Sustainability Strategist at Göteborg & Co.

How has the city been able to work towards the sustainability goal? How have the tech sector and universities been involved? What motivated hotels, event venues, restaurants and others in the industry to collaborate? How are events made into test lab? How easy was it to digitalise information and dialogue by using both global platforms and creating their own?  

Many cities big and small talk about the challenges and how they see them as opportunities waiting to be harnessed. Here is case of a city that has been able to fill the word sustainability with real content and received recognition for it. Enter Gothenburg.

Taking responsibility: cornerstones of smart tourism à la Gothenburg

Gothenburg’s Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is called Göteborg & Co and they have a Sustainability Strategy and they report on the performance. 

Sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation and culture heritage are important areas that contribute to a sustainable and smart tourism. All of these areas were developed together with stakeholders in the hospitality industry. Accessibility is characterised by the city’s future oriented transport. Digitalisation make information about the city available through the most popular booking platforms, as well as on social media and with the support of influencers. The official destination website is a one-stop-shop for everything visitors need to know about the city – and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, there’s a chat function which connects users with the visitor centre.  

Virtually all of the hotels and meeting facilities in Gothenburg are now environmentally certified. Events use a city developed “Event Impact Calculator”, produced by the local tech scene, forecasting potential environmental impact. This provides a data-driven approach to helping event organisers to value events from an economic, social and environmental aspect. Events like European Championships, Way Out West and the Gothenburg Culture Festival are used as living-lab platforms and show the way ahead in developing a sustainable meetings and events destination where inclusion and accessibility are key features. Gothenburg restaurants have great access to local and organic produce. This is People Planet Profit at its best. 

A sustainable city  

Team Gothenburg is a project to engage young adults, representing all districts, in city events to help break down prejudices relating to gender, ethnicity, background etc. The city has received the European Access City Award for the strategic and structured work towards a city accessible for all. Sweden’s first municipal LGBT advisory board was established here in 2013 and hosting EuroPride in 2018 was an acknowledgement of their efforts. 

66% of the electricity in the city comes from renewables and 30% of the waste is recycled. The regional climate target is to be fossil-independent by 2030 and Gothenburg was the first city in the world to issue Green Bonds to accelerate investments in climate-oriented solutions. Gothenburg has a low emission zone in place and the airport is certified to the highest level of the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme.  

WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award founded by the city, is an international prize awarded to a person or organisation for outstanding contributions towards a more sustainable future. By giving this international prize Gothenburg – and the world – get to celebrate success and learn from the best. Among former winners are Paul Polman, CEO Unilever; Kofi Annan, UN secretary.

Gothenburg’s work has been recognised by the title European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020. The past four years, Gothenburg has been at the top of the annual Global Destination Sustainability Index. 

Katarina will talk about how private and public collaboration have created a sustainable city and how other cities, big or small, can excel at smart tourism.

Katarina Thorstensson,
Gothenburg | European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020  


Registration for Nordic Place Branding Conference Helsingborg, Sweden. June 14th 2022.

Choose down below from different ticket options:

Regular ticket

450 €
(350 € with 2 or more tickets)


  • Live access
  • Conference session on the 14th
  • Light breakfast on the 14th
  • Lunch on the 14th
  • Study visits on the 15th
  • A 2 year free access to NPBC Digital Library
  • Material to download (presentations, brochures, keynotes, etc.)
  • Registration to the newsletter: access to handbooks and publications
  • Networking, interviews, panels of discussion
Register here

Digital ticket

350 €


  • Full streaming of talks
  • Material to download (presentations, brochures, keynotes, etc.)
  • A 2 year free access to NPBC Digital Library
  • Registration to the newsletter: access to handbooks and publications
  • Registration to online networking space
Register here

Streaming ticket

150 €


  • Special discount for students and academics
  • Full streaming of talks
  • Material to download (presentations, brochures, keynotes, etc.)
  • Registration to the newsletter: access to handbooks and publications
Register here


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