The Baltic Sea region – a joint destination for boat tourism

An initiative in boat tourism is now ongoing in the Baltic Sea region where the goal is a sustainable boat destination that can be jointly marketed on international markets. The cooperation was initiated with support from the Swedish Institute.
Guest marina

With more than 1,000 leisure boat harbours and diverse natural and cultural experiences, the Baltic Sea is a unique region for sailors and motorboat operators. Despite this, the region still lags behind international competitors in terms of visibility and tapping the economic potentials of leisure boating.

Olga Zuin at the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) tells that they gathered organisations to initiate a dialogue about how the region can market itself as a joint tourist destination. The partnership received funding from SI for the project Baltic Sustainable Boating. An important part of the initiative is its focus on environmental and social sustainability. The partnership believes that an increased awareness of these issues will change customers’ behaviour in boat tourism and that sustainability has the potential to become the competitive advantage of the Baltic Sea region.

– With the SI funding, we had the opportunity to bring together people within participating organisations, explore the interests of additional actors in the region and conduct a pre-study on the opportunities and obstacles of small harbours. The results of the pre-study and the dialogues led to a broadened partnership and additional funding from the EU programme Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme for the continuation of the cooperation in the project BaltSusBoating 2030, explains Olga Zuin.

In the BaltSusBoating 2030 project, larger umbrella organisations and boat tourism operators in the Baltic Sea region join forces. The partnership aims to develop a strategy for a sustainable development of boat tourism and a plan for joint marketing of the Baltic Sea.

The SI Baltic Sea Neighbourhood Programme aims to strengthen and create lasting cooperation between the EU countries around the Baltic Sea and countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership to meet the region’s common challenges and to build on the opportunities that cooperation between the countries provides. Within the programme there are two different types of grant; seed funding and funding for cooperation projects.

Camilla Wristel at SI explains that with the SI funding, you can, among other things, refine your cooperation idea, do necessary analyses, find attractive partners and broaden your partnership for future cooperation. There are also opportunities to develop and test methods and models as well as build networks and platforms.

– We see from the projects that have recently been completed that many intend to continue cooperating. We also know from before that cooperation that start with SI funding last for a long time. A lot of SI funded projects manage to find new funding for their cooperation and in that way SI contributes to sustainability in cooperation and beneficial effects in areas important to the region, says Camilla Wristel.

Olga Zuin confirms that the funding received from SI was important for the partnership.

– We find that the funding we apply for from SI is very useful because it gives the opportunity to develop an idea further, regardless of the thematic area. The SI-funding also gives partnerships the opportunity to prepare so that they can compete for larger funding, for instance EU funding. Within this initiative, with support from SI, we have been able to develop what was initially a fairly general idea into a cooperation that has the potential to affect the competitiveness of the entire region, concludes Olga Zuin.


The partnership began its cooperation within the SI funded Baltic Sustainable Boating (BSB) project.

Read about other SI-funded projects in our project database and in previous articles under the Baltic Sea region cooperation category.

SI has an ongoing call for application within the SI Baltic Sea Neighbourhood Programme which closes on March 2, 2023.