Alta Badia (South Tyrolean Dolomites/Italy) – In Alta Badia, efforts are being made day by day to improve the sustainability of the tourist destination, involving employees in the tourism sector, institutions, locals and also the many guests visiting the valley. A year ago, work began on achieving GSTC certification, the only internationally recognised standard for sustainable tourism, which arrived on 9 August 2022 following an in-depth audit in July. This is the most prestigious goal for destinations, which focus on sustainability as a key element of their tourism offer. However, we are aware that this is only the beginning of a broader project, which has at its heart environmental protection, responsibility towards the territory and hospitality, points that the tourist destination wants to cultivate in a transversal manner, in order to enhance an increasingly responsible tourism in every sphere.
With the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) certification awarded to Alta Badia on Tuesday 9 August 2022, the tourist destination in the heart of the Dolomites a UNESCO World Heritage Site demonstrates its commitment to sustainable tourism through an internationally recognised label.
|Alta Badia, The 4th Italian tourist destination to obtain GSTC certification|
WHAT IS GSTC CERTIFICATION?
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is an organisation established in 2007 by UNEP, United Nations Environment Programme, and UNWTO, United Nations World Tourism Organisation, to promote sustainability and social responsibility in the world of tourism.
The GSTC criteria are recognised worldwide and are developed around four fundamental concepts:
- Sustainable management (Governance)
- Socio-economic sustainability
- Cultural sustainability
- Environmental sustainability
The GSTC label was obtained through the verification process of Vireo, the only certification body accredited by GSTC in Italy. This means that the certification service is carried out and managed according to the accreditation standard, which defines the methods, procedures and timing for verification audits, ensuring the independence and credibility of the entire system.
ALTA BADIA CLIMATE PLAN
The awareness that everyone has to contribute to this is great. As a result, the "Alta Badia Climate Plan" project has been launched, which in its first stage aims to calculate the overall impact that CO2 has on the area. Based on this data, the cornerstone of the initiative, it will be possible to identify the existing situation and develop a targeted strategy to reduce and offset CO2 emissions – the main source of global pollution. For the implementation of this project, members of all tourism categories were involved in order to obtain a sample of at least 150 forms for 40 different types of tourism operators and other relevant categories. Each participant was asked to provide different data (e.g. data on energy consumption, type of energy supply and daily habits) in order to obtain a statistically valid and realistic calculation which becomes the basis for the development of all future sustainability strategies.
IMPLEMENTING SUSTAINABILITY: INITIATIVES & EVENTS IN SUMMER 2022
In terms of environmental protection, it is crucial to address the reduction of traffic-related CO2 emissions. In this context, the summer opening of the lifts should also be included, which represents a further possibility to travel in a sustainable way and allows to experience the mountains without a car. With the opening of the Borest cable car in summer 2022, this service will be further expanded – the ideal way to move car-free between Corvara and Colfosco as well. From the Colfosco cable car station, it is possible to proceed with the lifts in the direction of the valley called Valle Stella Alpina or with the Plans-Frara-lift to the Gardena pass, while the La Fraina and Bamby chairlifts connect the villages of La Villa and San Cassiano on the Piz Sorega and Piz La Ila plateaus.
Until October 2, 2022, a total of 19 lifts are available and can be used with the Alta Badia Summer Card, thus becoming an efficient tool for mobility. In this way it is possible to move freely in the area and enjoy all its diversity and beauty in a sustainable way.
Stop, yet with pleasure!: In Alta Badia even your car enjoys a holiday
The campaign “Stop, yet with pleasure!” aims to encourage holiday guests in Alta Badia to explore the area without using their car. The idea: tourists who hand in the car key at the reception of their accommodation facility upon arrival and leave the car parked for two days during a minimum stay of three nights (or four days, for a minimum stay of six nights) receive a benefit card that offers interesting discounts on various services, such as: the use of taxis, the participation in excursions and events organised by the tourist offices in Alta Badia or the access to the biotope lake in Corvara and the Adventure Park in Colfosco. To complete the initiative, the participants will also receive a delightful surprise when the keys are handed over at the time of departure. The less cars drive on the roads of the Dolomites, the greater our contribution to the protection of the environment.
ALTA BADIA ECO-HIKER: GENTLE HIKING, SUPPORTING THE ENVIRONMENT
The goal of "Alta Badia Eco-Hiker" is to sensitise hikers about environmental protection and the very fragile ecosystem of the Dolomites, because far too often waste and rubbish are scattered in nature. During the Alta Badia Eco-Hiker appointments, which will be held again in summer 2022, hikers will be given the opportunity to actively engage with nature: Accompanied by a local expert, participants will be equipped with gloves, tools, bio-bags and more to pick up the waste they find along their path across meadows and woods and take it back to the valley. The dates for the next month are set for August 29, and September 19. As the number of participants is restricted, it is necessary to register in advance for the chosen date by contacting the tourist offices of Alta Badia.
THE WATER OF OUR MOUNTAINS
'Respect the Mountain' is a project of the Province of Bolzano, which aims to raise awareness among citizens and visitors to adopt environmentally friendly behaviour. One of the main themes of the project is drinking water. The consumption of water in plastic bottles leaves permanent traces and it is precisely for this reason that Alta Badia wants to encourage people to consume tap and fountain water, using reusable bottles and flasks. With this in mind, a map of the locality was created, indicating the points where the fountains for filling water bottles are located. A plaque, placed at all the fountains reviewed, will certify the quality of the water and encourage people to use it. As well as being good, Alta Badia's water is certified and of excellent quality.