Tallinn and Helsinki to build ecologically sustainable islands

The Tallinn City Government will file a proposal with the City Council suggesting participation in the EU project ‘Urban Eco Islands’.

The main objective of the project is to develop two new island destinations within the urban area of the Tallinn-Helsinki twin city - Aegna in Tallinn and Vasikkasaari in Helsinki - and hence create popular destinations for smart and sustainable ecotourism. The idea is to increase the number of tourists whilst avoiding damage to the natural environment.

“EU funding allows modernising the living conditions and recreational facilities on Aegna Island, including the local waste management system,” noted Central District Elder Vladimir Svet. “We hope to kick off the project this autumn after the end of the holiday season and carry out the majority of renovation work next year. This way we can prevent potential environmental problems and help address issues related to garbage handling that cause concern among locals and visitors alike. We intend to conduct a satisfaction survey among visitors to find out what the tourists would like to see and experience on the island. The district authorities are looking to develop the island whilst retaining its natural characteristics so as to make it a more attractive recreational destination.

The project should be completed by 31 March 2021. Tallinn will participate in the project as a regular partner with the Central District Government appointed as the project administrator.

The project includes constructing a waste handling station on Aegna and improving tourism infrastructure like signs, information boards, and boardwalks where necessary to protect the fragile natural environment. The project aims to deliver a new tourism concept for attractive and smart urban islands and common, interrelated destinations within the twin city.

The leading partner is the Helsinki Environmental Authority whereas regular partners include the Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn Centre, Forum Virum Helsinki and the Tallinn Central District Government.

The project budget totals 1,093,705 euros with the City of Tallinn contributing 215,020 euros (whereof 182,767 euros is foreign aid and the city’s own contribution is 32,253 euros).