CIPRA representatives:

Personal tools

  Search filter  


Point of view: Let's finally press the reset button in tourism!

Jan 24, 2022 / Hans Weber, CIPRA Switzerland
Mass tourism in the Alps has collapsed due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, and the opportunities for switching to environmentally and socially just tourism have increased. But they must also be exploited, says Hans Weber, Executive Director of CIPRA Switzerland.
Image caption:
Hans Weber, Executive Director of CIPRA Switzerland. (c) Maya Mathias, CIPRA International

What impact has the pandemic had on tourism? What measures have been taken in this context? And do they lead to more sustainable tourism in mountain regions? This is what we have been investigating in all Alpine countries as part of the Alpine-wide Reset Alpine Tourism project, under the auspices of CIPRA International.

Unfortunately, Switzerland has not yet taken the opportunity to set the course towards environmentally and socially just tourism. However, there are also positive signs that sustainability will become more important in the future.

As in all countries of the Alpine arc, tourism has been hit hard in Switzerland, especially in the tourist centres, the cities and everywhere where foreign guests make up a large share of business. On the other hand, small and remote places have been overrun by local day trippers: they were often poorly prepared and overwhelmed with the requirements of visitor management. Nature was left out in the cold.

Politics concentrated on keeping businesses alive financially - with quick loans, hardship money, or relief from short-time work. The opportunity has so far been missed to make tourism more sustainable and resilient, or to develop long-term sustainable business models. There are however signs of hope: Switzerland Tourism's "Swisstainable" strategy was implemented very quickly in 2021 and the revised tourism strategy adopted by the Federal Council on 10 November 2021 now also understands the goal of sustainability as an opportunity for tourism.

However, these tentative signs cannot for example hide the fact that, in the case of further development of the Matterhorn region from the Italian side, there is talk of diverting "tourist flows" on the way from Milan to Paris. Here the tourism industry shows its harsher side, where profit is paramount and the pandemic is seen as a kink in the curve that needs to be quickly ironed out.

The Switzerland-wide "Innovation Generator" project led by CIPRA Switzerland supports innovations for new, truly sustainable tourism products and aims to provide an impetus for sustainable tourism. It is to be hoped that the pandemic will make us think more and that the crisis will actually be seen as an opportunity.


Sources and further information: (de), (de)