25.05.2021: The Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair vacation region and the ZHAW are setting standards for greater sustainability.
After three project years, the time has come today: Tourism Engadin Scuol Samnaun Val Müstair AG (TESSVM), as the sponsor of the Innotour project «Applied Sustainability in Swiss Tourism Destinations (NSTD)», in cooperation with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), presents the handbook with the accompanying practical course for applied sustainability in tourism destinations. With this guide, Swiss destination management organizations (DMOs) will in the future have a tool at their disposal that combines well-founded scientific findings with tried-and-tested practical examples and thus points the way forward for the domestic tourism industry. The aim of the overall project is to ensure that sustainable development is practiced by the DMOs and that a long-term increase in quality can thus take place in Swiss tourism.
In the Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair vacation region, the region around Switzerland's only national park, sustainability has been a top priority for many decades. Together with the ZHAW and other partners, the tourism organization is therefore committed to greater sustainability in the tourism sector. Because only if sustainability is lived and anchored in the region by all its diverse stakeholders will it be possible to prepare Swiss tourism for the future in a truly sustainable way. «The need for action for more sustainability in Swiss tourism is well known. While numerous guides and assistance exist for many types of tourism businesses, for example accommodations, this has been lacking for us DMOs, especially since our embedding is sometimes very complex and challenging at first glance. The handbook and the practical course help to take stock of the situation and to initiate concrete measures for the future of one's own destination,» says Martina Stadler, tourism director of the Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair vacation region. The timing for the sustainability offensive could not be better, as the sustainability strategy «Swisstainable» was initiated by Switzerland Tourism at the beginning of the year, where Switzerland is positioned as a holistic, sustainable travel destination.
The handbook and the practical course are two of four sub-projects of the NSTD project. In two other projects, feasibility studies for a rating of sustainability in tourism destinations were carried out and a needs analysis for a competence center for sustainability in tourism is currently being conducted.
With 40 criteria for applied tourism sustainability
The newly published handbook builds on the practical guide «Sustainability in German Tourism» and combines well-founded knowledge with practical examples from tourism. The structure is structured according to the three sustainability dimensions of environment, society and economy. In addition, the dimension "management" was also included, because it is through management that tourism sustainability is triggered. The possibilities for action are based on 40 criteria, for which concrete recommendations are shown. For the implementation of these recommendations, best practice examples describe possible solutions. The handbook is currently available in German and French.
Determining the current situation through a practical course
In addition to the handbook, a practical course with individual coaching has been set up for interested DMOs. The courses are led by sanu future learning ag and the ZHAW. In the practical course, an assessment of the current situation with regard to sustainability is carried out. Together with the most important stakeholders in the region, a common understanding of sustainability and a corresponding vision are developed and concrete implementation projects are launched.
Broad support and cooperation
To ensure the broadest possible support for the overall NSTD project throughout Switzerland, a steering group was formed at the outset. This consisted of the Graubünden Office of Economy and Tourism, sanu future leaning ag, Schaffhauserland Tourism, Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Tourism Federation, Vaud Promotion, ZHAW and TESSVM. In addition, the project management was able to count on valuable input from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, the Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE and the Federal Office of Culture FOC as part of an accompanying group.
At sustainability4destinations.ch, the handbook «Sustainability in Swiss Tourism Destinations» can be ordered free of charge or downloaded as a PDF and further information on the practical course can be found.