Sustainability has been shaping Switzerland for decades. This has been evident in the predominant use of hydropower, the high environmental awareness of the Swiss people and the early and comprehensive expansion of public transport.
Despite this existing high-performance, there is an urgent requirement to strengthen this attitude and also convey this commitment to visitors. Consequently, a new sustainable development strategy has been developed by the national tourism board, Switzerland Tourism, aptly named Swisstainable. This comprehensive programme provides a far-reaching range of commitments, certifications, tools and support services that formalise the Swiss route towards a tourism sector that is grounded in social, economic and environmental best practise.
As a pillar of the strategy, Switzerland Tourism has formalised an agreement with the GDS-Movement, to rollout the GDS-Index to measure, improve and communicate annually on the sustainable performance of Swiss destinations across social, environmental, supplier and destination management categories. Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne and Montreux are long standing members of the GDS-Index, however through the Switzerland Tourism initiative further destinations such as Lugano, Lucerne, Basel, Interlaken and Saint Gallen-Bodensee will now also start benchmarking performance improvement actions from 2021.
The global pandemic has increased the desire for authenticity, closeness to nature and responsible use of resources. No destination represents this zeitgeist like Switzerland. With the current need to protect and reinforce these assets, enrich the guest experience and respect the local community, Swisstainable and the GDS-Index are focused on catalysing regenerative development in tourism. The approach is compatible with the UN SDGs and being developed in alignment with and supported by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
With the goal of becoming recognised as the most sustainable holiday, travel and convention destination in the world, the Swisstainable strategy aims to draw on the nation’s strengths to clearly differentiate Switzerland and to ensure the long-term success of Switzerland as a destination, and wonderful place to visit.
On the Swisstainable journey, Switzerland Tourism has been able to rely on important international partners. In addition to the GDS Index, Switzerland Tourism is can also depend on the expertise and network of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
With ATTA Switzerland Tourism commits to a two-year multi-project project with the goal to introduce and establish Switzerland as one of the world’s most sustainable destinations. It will position the new brand ‘Swisstainable’ by partnering with one of the leading global organisations in the travel and tourism sector with a strong reputation and long track record.
In addition, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has accompanied the programme development of Switzerland Tourism. “To develop a fruitful sustainability strategy, a multi stakeholder approach is key. The regular exchange with GSTC has significantly helped us to strengthen our approach and to learn from the best practices.” says Samuel Wille, interim Head of Business Development at Switzerland Tourism.
Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the GDS Movement, shared “Once again, Switzerland is paving the path to the future with a bold and ambitious strategy. By benchmarking and then developing implementation strategies across these nine cities, we will collaboratively drive sustainable tourism performance, from the pristine ski slopes to the vibrant lakeside communities.”
Martin Nydegger CEO Switzerland Tourism said, “with Swisstainable, we are taking another big step towards securing the long-term success of Switzerland as a travel destination and making it the world’s most sustainable destination.”
For more information, please contact:
Markus Berger – Head of Corporate Communications
Switzerland Tourism, Morgartenstrasseu 5a, 8004 Zurich