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Mission statement: Sustainable travel

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2005) defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of present and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of guests, industry, the environment as well as local people.” What does this mean specifically for our region? “Our region – for us and our guests” was the motto of the development of the mission statement within the framework of the LEADER process in 2014, in which many tourism stakeholders of the region were involved. Based on this understanding as well as on their identification with the region, they formulated the following objective and work assignment: “We want to continue to be an attractive, diverse tourism region with its unique natural features and sustainable orientation: providing offers for different target groups, daring to innovate, bringing tradition to life and offering quality”.

Transferring the principles of sustainability to tourism of the Biosphere Region results in the following generally valid statement:

“Tourism is developed in such a way that it brings stable added value in harmony with the preservation of nature and culture, as well as with the quality of experience and life for its residents and guests. It makes a significant contribution to the sustainable development of the entire region. It fulfills its role as a cross-cutting discipline and links nature conservation, agriculture and forestry, education, trade and crafts.” (from the Local Development Strategy, BGL, 2014)

These different aspects of sustainable development can be seen in a variety of ways along the tourism value chain – i.e. on the basis of the various components of a vacation trip in the region: This starts with information, booking, arrival/departure, mobility on site, accommodation and catering and extends to the activities on site – such as hiking, participation in environmental education offers of the Biosphere Region and the National Park – and other attractions (visit to the Haus der Berge, weekly markets, etc.). In each situation, different actors are involved. Our goal is to reflect the idea of sustainability and thus the spirit of the biosphere region in each of the individual building blocks. This means that guests are informed in advance about the uniqueness of their chosen destination (what does it mean to be a UNESCO Biosphere Region and what is the idea behind it?), so that they have the opportunity to travel eco-friendly and do not need to use their cars on site. Accommodations emphasize sustainable management and protection of resources (key words: energy production and consumption, waste separation and avoidance, water conservation, ecologically degradable cleaning agents, energy-saving construction methods, etc.) as well as regionality (predominantly regional products and services) and authenticity. The nature- and environment-friendly activities are directly related to the region. Environmental education offers provide a unique insight into the special features of the region’s natural and cultural landscape.

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