News Focus on sustainable tourism certifying - the BLUE SWALLOW

Regine Gwinner of Blaue Schwalbe talks to Valere Tjolle of Vision on Sustainable Tourism: "I wish railways would come to support one another and focus on a better service for travellers."

Valere Tjolle: Which roles have climate change, halting the loss of biodiversity, supporting regional economy, travel slow, consume less, in your certification standards?
Regine Gwinner:
All these issues matter a great deal to us and are reflected in our criteria. We require hotels to enable their guests an arrival by bus and train (climate protection, slow travel), demand the non-use of chemicals indoors or in the garden (biodiversity) and advocate regional cooking, regional products (regional economy) as well as a responsible use of water and energy.

VT: Which e.g. 3-5 exemplary "Blue Swallow" businesses would you highlight to give our readers an idea of "Blue Swallow" hotels in Europe?
: The four-star eco-hotel Chesa Valisa in the Austrian Kleinwalsertal: This hotel is a pretty good example for the fact that luxury holidays are indeed compatible with a regional economic concept, organic food and a comprehensive ecological concept.

Stiftung Salecina in the Swiss Engadin and Nab Cottage in Northern England are both proof  that there are still exciting alternatives to conventional hotel holidays and that living together and sharing experiences while following an ecological example can at times provide more of a holiday than many a hotel with four stars preceding its name.

Three-star Burghotel Lenzen in Brandenburg, Germany is a beautiful hotel inside a historic building at the heart of nature. It offers a good mixture of classic hotel holidays, an ecological concept and offers to experience the natural surroundings.

VT:  Have you ever heard about GSTC international recognition of Sustainable Tourism certification standards/accreditation of certification bodies? Are you interested in such a international recognition or do you not expect an added value through this?
Yes, I've heard of them. So far, the advertising of our certified partners has mainly been focusing on the German market. Therefore, we expect little added value from an international certification.

VT: What is your opinion of Rio+20?
I'm disappointed. Conferences like these remain failures as long as they don't produce results that are legally binding. Agreeing on one's good intentions or defining objectives just isn't good enough. In the field of tourism, I'd like to see actual restrictions on air travel so that the eco-disaster of today's mass tourism may be halted and steered in a more socially and environmentally-friendly direction.

VT: If you had 3 wishes, what should the European Union decide? What should tour operators and travel agencies be committed to as a common rule? To whom would you address wish nr 3?
The EU should exempt international train travel from taxation until the railway has drawn level with the aeroplane in European passenger traffic.

I think that tour operators and travel agencies should always offer the alternative approach of an environmentally-friendly mode of arrival.

My third wish goes to the European railway companies. Rather than obstructing one another in international traffic, I wish they would come to support one another and focus on a better service for travellers.

Find out more about the Blue Swallow and see all their certified businesses on DestiNet HERE

Valere Tjolle

Article on Travelmole

Keywords Certification, Good practices,
Target group(s) Destinations , Businesses
Topics Certification & Marketing