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Holidaying with a clear conscience

The mountaineering village of Ramsau/D is a good example of sustainable tourism. (c) Fritz Rasp

From Germany’s first mountaineering village, to the Italian “Albergo Diffuso”, to coworking space in a Swiss holiday region: three inspiring examples that show how environmentally friendly and socially responsible holidays in the Alps can be.

“We are Olympic champions in unsuccessful Olympic applications,” says Ramsau Tourism Director Fritz Rasp, laughing. After several unsuccessful Olympic bids with different partners, he decided not to pursue any more major sporting events. In 2015, the German village of Ramsau received the Bergsteigerdorf seal of approval. “This is not just a tourist label for us. We want to align our community policy with the mountaineering village philosophy”. The people of Ramsau reintroduced old livestock breeds such as the Alpine Stone Sheep and the Black Alpine Pig, while one hotel obtains all its lamb meat from local farmers, and events such as Jens Badura’s “Alpine Philosophicum” invite critical reflection.

Scattered rooms, satisfied guests

Near the historic Italian town of Tolmezzo there is a stable. Only a few years ago its plaster was fragile and the roof was crooked. For decades no one had a use for it. Today people from all over the world come and go here. In a tasteful combination of old buildings and modern architecture, the stable has been renovated and converted into a holiday home. Hotel manager Daniela takes care of the former stable for the “Albergo diffuso Tolmezzo” and 13 other buildings in the area that are rented as accommodation: “We are not a normal hotel, where all rooms and services are concentrated in one house: instead we are scattered all over Tolmezzo”. Staying here lets you get to know not only Tolmezzo, but also its people and traditions.

Coworking enlivens the mid-season

The Lower Engadine in Switzerland also shows how an Alpine valley can develop new strategies for sustainable tourism. In Alpine mountain coworking spaces such as the village of Ftan or the planned InnHub meeting centre in the village of LaPunt, to be opened in 2022, guests can forge ideas together. Visitors are also increasingly using the rooms in the autumn months, when the Lower Engadine otherwise sees fewer tourists. At the beginning of the project there would have been many sceptics, but this has changed considerably in the meantime. “Now I feel great support from local people”, says Jon Erni, founder of the initiative “MiaEngiadina”.

The stories of these three examples of sustainable tourism can now be read in full here:

- Mountaineering village instead of Olympic village

- Scattered rooms, satisfied guests

- From coworking to the climate educational trail

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