Oman is ranked first in the GCC and third in the Arab world in the Sustainable Travel Index 2020 released by Euromonitor International on March 12.

According to the index, Scandinavia is leading by example in its engagement and progress towards sustainable travel, with Sweden ranked first, followed by Finland, Austria, Estonia and Norway.

These findings extracted from the new Sustainable Travel Index, developed by Euromonitor International, assesses 99 country destinations through the lens of country risk, environmental, social and economic sustainability, as well as sustainable tourism demand, transport and lodging.

Among the GCC countries, Oman is ranked 57th, followed by UAE (58th), Bahrain (70th), Saudi Arabia (72nd), Kuwait (82nd) and Qatar (86th).

In the Arab world, Jordon (43rd) and Israel (45th) are ranked higher than Oman. The sultanate is also listed among the most improved countries for Economic Sustainability in the Index.

According to a report titled Top Countries for Sustainable Tourism, which is part of the index, ‘66.4 per cent of consumers globally want to have a positive impact on the environment through their daily actions in 2021’.

“Sweden is a pioneer in lifecycle assessment research which is critical to understand the full impact of consumer behaviour and consumption patterns,” said Caroline Bremner, head of travel at Euromonitor International. The country is highly engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals and preserves the Arctic ice and permafrost to help stop climate change, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Other countries also show good progress in sustainable transport and lodging. Just outside the top 20 – featuring other European countries for the most part, such as Germany and France – New Zealand, Bolivia and Canada make their mark.

“There is globally a clear change in mindset and resistance in returning to a volume-driven travel and tourism model. Instead, stakeholders are rallying together to ‘build back better’ through value creation from sustainable tourism. As momentum grows in the run up to COP26, consumers, travel brands, destination marketing organisations and governments continue to align to avert the climate emergency,” Caroline concluded.

COP26 – 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – is scheduled from November 1 to 12, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.