HSLU develops sustainability program for tourism destinations

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 (Image: Pixabay CC0)
(Image: Pixabay CC0)
The sustainability program Swisstainable for Swiss tourism has been growing continuously since its launch two years ago: Meanwhile, more than 1,700 tourism businesses from all over Switzerland are already committed to sustainable development with concrete measures. The operating program has now been further developed and will be open to tourism destinations from April 2023 under the name Swisstainable Destination.

With the further development at destination level, it is now possible for tourism destinations to participate in the national sustainability program within their sphere of influence. With Swisstainable Destination, they are provided with concrete instruments within the framework of the program on how they can specifically promote holistic sustainable development within their destination. They can thus position themselves as a responsible destination and make an important contribution to sustainable Swiss tourism. "We are very pleased that we have been able to further develop the Swisstainable sustainability program and that tourism destinations now have the opportunity to implement sustainability holistically within their destination with Swisstainable Destination and to make their commitment visible to their guests," says Philipp Niederberger, Director of the Swiss Tourism Federation.

First trials in pilot destinations, launch in April

The destination program was developed under the auspices of the Institute for Tourism and Mobility at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) in collaboration with Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss Tourism Federation, supported by the industry associations. The pilot phase is currently underway with the tourism organizations Basel Tourismus, Lenzerheide Marketing und Support AG, Luzern Tourismus AG and Tourismus Engadin Scuol Samnaun Val Müstair AG. For several months now, the four city and mountain destinations have been working on the measures necessary for their tourism destinations to become Swisstainable destinations. Their experiences and feedback have been incorporated into the program development. With the official launch of Swisstainable Destination at the Swiss Holiday Day on April 4/5, 2023 in Interlaken, the largest event in the Swiss tourism sector, participation is open to all Swiss tourism destinations.

From "committed" to "leading": Three levels of sustainability

As with the basic operational program, Swisstainable Destination is divided into three levels in order to take into account the different starting points in terms of sustainability and the varying degrees of commitment of tourism destinations. All three levels are based on commitment, the establishment and operation of a sustainability coordination office, the embedding of sustainability in the destination strategy, a concrete action plan, a certain number of Swisstainable businesses in the destination, and active communication. From Level II - engaged, continuous monitoring of sustainability indicators is also required. If the destinations also have a recognized sustainability certification at destination level, they can apply for Level III - leading.

Swisstainable Destination lays another foundation stone for joining forces along the entire tourism value chain and taking all tourism stakeholders on the journey to a sustainable tourism country, Switzerland.

Swisstainable - Sustainability Program for Swiss Tourism

Swisstainable was developed in 2021 by Switzerland Tourism together with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the Swiss tourism sector as a sustainability program "by the industry for the industry". Since 2022, the office has been located in the Competence Center for Sustainability (KONA) at the Swiss Tourism Federation. The program supports tourism businesses in putting sustainability into practice. In this way, Swisstainable underlines the relevance of the topic for the future positioning of Switzerland as a sustainable tourism country and makes an important contribution to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the framework of the 2030 Agenda. The program is not a certification, but refers to existing national and international sustainability certifications. Swisstainable makes the sustainability commitment of the tourism sector more visible and creates transparency and orientation for guests.

More about Swisstainable Destination.