ALPINE CONVENTION | SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN THE ALPS
• develop cross-border public transports and simplify tariff offers for tourist in the Alps; • ensure that travel and tourism professionals together develop practical information on the soft mobility options that are available in different Alpine sites and make it accessible to the general public; • harmonise school holidays calendars in order to limit peak season and the development of infrastructures.
Adaptation strategies The measures foreseen for tourism are: • supervise the construction of tourist infrastructures in glaciated and wilderness areas; • combine investment of public funds in snow-making equipment with the assessment of the consequences of such techniques on the environment and direct public
funds towards other alternatives; • support local authorities which diversify their activities and offer an alternative to Alpine skiing in winter. Spread the information in order to attract new customers; • aim at a better complementary between summer and winter tourist seasons by favouring inter-seasonal tourism; • favour the pooling between a mountain tourist resort and its surrounding territory (valley, mountain range etc.); • support the rehabilitation of existing dwellings. Adapting to the increased risk of natural hazard is an imperative task that already affects the Alpine region beyond the point of view of tourism. However, the tourism sector could significantly contribute to this purpose. The Adapt Alp project identified the ten most significant actions required at this time to prepare for the risks caused by global warming in the Alps (Adapt, Alp 2011).
Example of good practice: climate change adaptation A survey conducted as part of the ClimAlpTour project has shown that tourist have a great interest in obtaining more information about climate change in the Alps. The village of Grainau below the highest German mountain Zugspitze has therefore developed an experience trail informing visitors about “climate change and water” in the area. The round trip trail consists of 9 stations dealing with different aspects of climate change and adaptation, such as flora, glaciers, protective forest, wood composition, water supply, permafrost, natural hazards and spruce living conditions. For each station there are additional audio or video explanations which can be downloaded for free on smart phones (klimawandel-grainau.de). For example, a 3D simulation of a mega rock fall caused by a warm period about 3500 years ago and the unfreezing of the permafrost of the summit of Zugspitze explains the formation of the landscape and lake Eibsee below the Zugspitze massif. The new trail, opened in September 2012, deals with two aspects of climate change adaptation: firstly, it is a new all-season attraction which is not dependent on snow in winter, and thus a product adaptation itself which meets existing guests’ information needs. Secondly, it is an entertaining way of informing visitors and local residents about the most important aspects of regional climate change and natural adaptation processes as well as anthropogenic adaptation needs. Figure 1: Mobile phone audio and video guide
ALPINE CONVENTION | SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN THE ALPS
C.2.4 Tourism and protected areas C.2.4.1 Protected areas – a strong regional tool for sustainable tourism development From the point of view of tourism, the Alps, by blending tourism and nature, represent the best source of inspiration for the development of sustainable tourism development taking nature protection into account. On the one hand, the concept of nature protection needs the acceptance and the comprehension of the public and on the other hand, tourism uses nature as a natural resource which generates revenue. Across the Alpine countries, at national and regional level there are 7 different levels of protection: national parks, biosphere reserves, geological reserves and World heritage reserves (UNESCO), regional nature parks, nature reserves and areas with particular protections (as for examples landscape reserves in Germany). These different protection statuses contain special objectives depending on the Alpine country. For example, the Austrian natural parks, the Swiss and French regional nature parks as well as some of the newly established national parks and the surrounding regions of the French national parks (“buffer zones”) shall contribute
to strengthen the regional development which also includes the sustainable tourism development in protected areas and their environment (In French national parks and as well the Austrian National Park “Hohe Tauern” is the core zone in general not inhabited, while the buffer zone is inhabited with a sustainable agriculture and as well as nature and cultural heritage protection). Protected areas, with their generally high biodiversity (large number of special habitats and species) and their characteristic landscapes, as well their quite high cultural heritage relevance, are bound to help the development of eco-tourism and a sustainable local development. Tourism is a possibility for protected areas to get higher recognition through the development of new regional valueadded chains, regional models and regional marketing initiatives. They are on the one hand strengthening tourism offers by giving new impulses, on the other hand they promote local economic development by creating new job opportunities and stimulating the establishment of new accommodation opportunities in rural areas. The cooperation between protected areas and local and regional tourist operators is important to successfully turn protected areas into tourist attraction by joint offers and communication, marketing campaigns, common web presence, combined information centre and events.
Examples of good practice There are several well-known good practices examples of tourist attractions in Alpine protected areas. In the Western Alps the „Briançonnais“ area with the ècrins National Park (F) (www.ecrins-parcnational.fr) and the area of the Grand Paradiso National Park in the Aosta Valley and Piedmont (I) (www.pngp.it) with the Grand Paradis Foundation (www. grand-paradis.it) created expressly for promoting sustainable tourism in the Aosta Valley part of the National Park, are worth mentioning. In the Central and Eastern Alps, the natural parks of South Tyrol (I) (www.provinz.bz.it/natur/2803/vr/index_i.html), the protected area in Steiermark (A) (www.steiermark.com/naturparke/de/naturparke) and the UNESCO Biosphere reserve Entlebuch (CH) (www.biosphaere.ch/de/welcome. cfm) are other good practices where Alpine protected areas use methods of sustainable tourism as a regional development tool to protect nature and the landscape and at the same time to bring forward the local culture and local economy. Triglav National Park (SI) (www.tnp. si/images/uploads/NA_OBISKU_sloang_jan2011.pdf), the the Regional Park Skocjanske Jame (Sl) (www.parkskocjanske-jame.si/eng/tourist_centershtml) and the National Park Berchtesgaden (D) (www.nationalparkberchtesgaden.de/english/index.htm) decided to focus on raising tourists’ awareness: information centres, education trails, guided tours and excursions on nature protection, and a management of visitor movements. Figure 2: Snow-hiking in the ècrins National Park (F), Claude Dautrey All these Parks and organisations strive to reduce the © Parc national des ècrins