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Sabbatical in the Alps

Time-out with meaning: the model project "Alpine Sabbatical" has begun. © Corinne Gut Klucker

Take a longer break and give something back: The "Alpine Sabbatical" in Switzerland offers a meaningful alternative way of spending your free time.

In the low season, many alpine tourist destinations face the same problems: a lack of guests and hardly any income from tourism. The Swiss project "Alpine Sabbatical" now wants to change this. In the Grisons pilot regions of Surselva and Prättigau, guests can now book one- to three-month breaks. Language courses in Rhaeto-Romansh, voluntary Alpine and mountain forest work, handicrafts or music courses: the offer should appeal above all to professional dropouts and people changing jobs, but also to pensioners looking for a meaningful time out. A further focus is on burnout prevention and health care. Gerlinde Zuber, an architect and urban planner from Austria who now works in Zurich, submitted her idea to the Innovation Generator of CIPRA Switzerland in 2017 – with success.

A great opportunity

Instead of experiencing and consuming as much as possible in as short a time as possible, the idea is to get involved with a place and its people for a longer time, said Zuber. "The guests give something back to the place by participating." But not so as to replace workers who are in any case necessary, but voluntarily, out of interest in the country and its people. "There are great opportunities in this approach," says Stefan Steiner, Head of Regional Development for Prättigau/Davos. Kevin Brunold, Managing Director of Surselva Tourism, sees a win-win situation: "The guests benefit from the proximity to Alpine events and the peace and quiet in the off-season. For us, the Alpine Sabbaticals are an important building block on the way to becoming a year-round destination".

 

Sources and further information: www.alpinesabbatical.ch (de), https://innovationsgenerator.ch/index.php/alpine-sabbatical.html (de)

Interview with Gerlinde Zuber from "Alpine Sabbatical" in the CIPRA Podcast:

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