Theme of Matka-09 Nordic Travel Fair: Our World - Our Responsibility

In the Finnish travel industry there is a strong will to develop in a more sustainable direction. The theme of next Nordic Travel Fair MATKA, "Our World - Our Responsibility", is one way to stimulate discussion and increase knowledge and will to strive for a more responsible approach to travel both in the industry and among consumers and business travellers. Responsible travel will be visible at the fair as a broad whole including social and cultural perspectives as well as climate and environmental matters. "We have for example told exhibitors how they can make the theme part of their participation. The Finnish Fair Corporation will lend support by providing the Fair Travel Association and the WWF a stand built around the theme. There they can give visitors information on how to show responsibility in their travels, " says Exhibition Group Manager Ms Rilla Engblom of the Finnish Fair Corporation.

In addition to information on destinations in Finland and abroad, at the Nordic Travel Fair MATKA visitors can get tips on how to take sustainable development into consideration when they travel.

"We want to emphasize that even small choices that people can make for instance at a destination are important. When a traveller buys a bottle of local water instead of an imported product, this is a responsible act, " Ms Engblom points out.

The Finnish Fair Corporation pays attention to the environmental impacts of its business operations and actively strives to minimize them. Its environmental system covers all the exhibition and congress activities at the Helsinki Convention & Exhibition Centre, including catering and technical services.

Travel is one of the largest industries in the world. It provides jobs for 8.4% of the global labour force and accounts for 10.4% of gross domestic product worldwide. In Finland the travel industry employs over 60,000 people and accounts for 2.4% of GDP. At the global level travellers took over 900 million trips abroad in 2007, resulting in �625 billion of tourist income.

In sustainable travel the aim is to maximize the positive effects of travel while minimizing its negative impacts.

"Both travel professionals and travellers can do their part to promote this goal in many different ways. Sustainable travel is part of a sustainable lifestyle; many principles of responsible living also apply to a responsible holiday - and vice versa, " says Ms Heli Mфki-Frфnti, the managing director of the Association of Finnish Travel Agents.

Travel can have a negative impact on the climate and the environment, nature, social structures and local cultures. On the other hand many people earn a living from travel, and many of the poorest countries in the world are even dependent on tourist income.

"Travel is vital for many business activities and provides opportunities for people to spend time together, relax and have new experiences. Travel promotes tolerance and understanding between people and nations, " Ms Mфki-Frфnti adds.

In Slovenia green is more than just a colour; �Slovenian green� expresses a balance between the tranquillity of nature and the perseverance of Slovenians. It speaks of unspoilt nature and of dedication to keep it that way. It symbolises a balanced lifestyle that combines the unstoppable zest for life with a shared vision for the future, hand in hand with nature. Slovenian green also describes a need for the basic things in life. Green is the perfect expression of the harmony that is Slovenia; the fragrance of the forest, the burbling of a stream, the surprising taste of the water and the softness of wood.

Slovenian Tourist Board is also aware of the importance of sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism. At MATKA fair Slovenia is representing itself with new stand, made of nature and environmentally friendly materials, mostly wood with the combination of maple and cherry wood.

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