Tartu’s Good Practice Story has been selected as part of the 2021 Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories

Every year the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories competition collects sustainable tourism stories and good practices from destinations all over the world to be shared as inspiring examples to others, from tourism professionals to travellers. By telling their stories, destination management organisations can be acknowledged and recognised for the solutions they have implemented in response to challenges and problems they have faced. With the tourism sector facing very challenging times in the past years, the resiliency and hard work of these destinations to become more responsible should be celebrated.

The 2021 selection included Tartu with the story „Car-Free Avenue 2020/2021“. Tartu is the second-largest city in Estonia and holding Green Destinations Silver Award 2021. Various public space projects have been carried out in the city, in order to improve the urban environment for all citizens and visitors. A clean environment and maintaining green city living have been Tartu’s focus for decades.  It is important to reduce the carbon footprint of road users and increase the connection between locals, visitors and their surroundings.

In July 2020 and 2021 Tartu closed one of its main streets in the city center for car traffic and opened it for its citizens and visitors. The Freedom Avenue was turned into Car-Free Avenue.

Car-Free Avenue was located in one of the main car traffic channels in the city center, between the old town and the river Emajõgi. It has been a long debate of how to revitalize the riverside and create a connection between the old town and the riverside. The concept of Car-Free-Avenue did exactly that and even more. It became a hot spot for different events like dance courses, morning yoga, national radio broadcast pop-ups, concerts and more.

The words “Car-Free” brought direct attention to the problem of rising number of private cars in the city centre as well as started the discussion of more sustainable alternatives for urban space. It created a public discussion all over Estonia on climate change, excessive car-ownership and different methods in tackling the issues of building a sustainable future.  Car Free Avenue in 2021 was the first event that followed the Sustainable events manual with clear instructions that was developed for the events taking place in Tartu.

Submissions were evaluated by the Sustainable Top 100 Team, country experts and Green Destination Partners, coordinated by Green Destinations. The competition is held under the auspices of the Top 100 Partnership, with special contributions by: Green Destinations, QualityCoast, Travelife, ITB Berlin, Asian Ecotourism Network, Ecotourism Australia, Global Ecotourism Network, Sustainable First and GLP Films.

The story “Car Free Avenue 2020/2021 in Tartu“ and the whole 2021 Top 100 list will be available on the Green Destinations website.

Source: Tartu City

Riine Tiigi

Marketing Manager