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Do the Alps need a sustainable tourism task officer ?

“Overtourism”, “smart management of tourist flows”, “protection of natural heritage sites” are part of the many challenges the Alpine region is facing. So far, different relevant initiatives have been developed in the territory, from eco-hostels and Alpine Pearls to eco-friendly ski resorts and AlpFoodWay. These initiatives, however, cover the local scope and rely on the commitment of a few people. CIPRA international intends to connect these projects and build a stronger network of sustainable tourism actors in the Alps to raise awareness on this issue.

Sustainable tourism initiatives in the Alps reflects the diversity of organisations and good practices but there is still no structure that pools and connects the various promising projects at the Alpine level. To tackle this challenge, CIPRA organised an expert meeting in November 2018 in Innsbruck. For the first time, tourism experts from all Alpine countries defined the mission and skills for the position, aiming at supporting the transition to sustainable tourism at macro-regional level.

Experts flagged a series of skills and experiences needed to build a concrete position profile. On top of traditional tourism skills, the job profile further asks for expertise in other sectors, such as sustainable mobility, agriculture, energy or climate change. Knowledge of tourism eco-labels and existing certificates is also one of the 16 criteria which were defined.

“Tourism stakeholders need a face, an interlocutor to listen to them” says Christian Baumgartner, a tourism expert and vice president of CIPRA International. This interlocutor will also have to find the right tools to support, pool and disseminate the different sustainable tourism projects initiated in the region. While the need for a sustainable tourism task officer for the Alps was clearly confirmed at the end of the expert meeting in Innsbruck, some open questions remain as for the funding of such a position and the possibility or not, for the chosen officer, to be linked to NGOs or local tourism associations.

The project “Sustainable tourism in the Alps. Who does the work?” Is led by CIPRA International, in cooperation with the Swiss, Austrian, French, Italian, German and Slovenian delegations of CIPRA. In collaboration with partner organisations, CIPRA is now spreading the position profile in the Alps, sending the ball to authorities and possible financers’ court.

 

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26 April 2019

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