3 inspiring ideas on how to ensure sustainable tourism development: Alpine Pearls

Our expert in sustainable tourism, Jasper Heslinga, joined the inspirational trip ‘Alpine Pearls’. Together with a Dutch delegation of tourism entrepreneurs, government representatives, nature organisations, research and educational organisations he gained inspiration for successful development of sustainable tourism. He also shared his own knowledge based on his PhD dissertation on the synergy between tourism and nature.

What makes sustainable tourism in the Alps special?

In the Alps, specifically in Austria, the pursuit of sustainable area development in the tourism sector is of paramount importance focusing on:

  • Tourist mobility and sustainability
  • Successful extension of the tourist season
  • Special financial system for the tourism promotion
  • Promotion of sustainable tourism by using sustainable energy and regional products such as a biomass power station and a large solar park to generate energy

Inspirations for sustainable tourism development

In addition to the many impressions and great examples gathered during this inspirational trip, there are three points that can be of great value for the successful development of a sustainable tourist destination:

1. A clear vision of tourism

It is striking that there is a clear vision of the role of tourism in both Ellmau and Werfenweng. Where tourism can often still be seen as an objective in itself, tourism is seen here as a means to maintain a higher goal. Examples are retaining young people, keeping facilities up to standard and keeping the society healthy and vital.

2. The strength of organisational interrelationships

It is striking how strong the interrelationships in Austria are. This can be explained by the long tradition of community involvement in tourism management processes and the large number of companies that are run by families. In addition, the residents of the community are actively involved in a large number of projects. As a result of community involvement, the support for sustainable tourism development is increasing.

3. A transparent and fair financial system

In 1927, there was an interesting and successful payment system set up in Tyrol for the promotion of tourism. This mandatory system ensures that every company in the region financially contributes to tourism. Tourist-dependent companies pay more than, for example, a supermarket. All companies that are registered with the Chamber of Commerce contribute to the tourism industry according to a distribution key. Thus, all the investments are used for innovations and for making tourism more sustainable.

Integration of governments, entrepreneurs and education

This inspiration trip was organised by the Foundation for Innovation in Recreation and Space (STIRR). In addition to gaining knowledge and inspiration, this trip gave insight into ​​how tourism in the Netherlands could be preserved by different parties and perspectives. Together with CELTH, we strive to collaborate and co-create according to the Triple Helix model including governmental, entrepreneurial educational perspectives.