News Focus on sustainable tourism certifying: ALPINE PEARLS

Receiving the Tourism for Tomorrow Award

Karmen Mentil of Alpine Pearls talks to Valere Tjolle of Vision on Sustainable Tourism: Travel Agents should at least KNOW (if not even sell!!!) about sustainable means of transport.

Valere Tjolle:  Can you give me a brief outline of Alpine Pearls current work?
Karmen Mentil: The Alpine Pearls Association is a network of 27 communities that offer carefree, yet conscious ways to enjoy holidays in environmentally friendly way - soft mobility is their USP. You can find the Alpine Pearl villages in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The Alpine Pearls association focusses in its work on communication and marketing for its members. The main target markets are Germany and Italy, as well as Austria and France.

Activitites include:

  • product development for and with its member villages (eg. e-car-projects, e-bike-projects, tourism product development in protected areas, etc.)
  • building up co-operations with tour operators (eg. Ameropa), and with other partners (networks, rail-companies, e-car-producers)
  • media work (press trips, press releases, meet-the-press, etc)
  • internet, social media (e.g. online campagnes google and facebook, etc.)
  • internal communication such as: newsletters, member meeting, study tours, soft-mobility conference (in October 2012 in Austria)
  • study tours for tour operators and other multiplyers
  • project development for EU-funded projects
  • search for new members (eg. in France and Switzerland)
  • internal quality controls

VT:  Which roles have climate change, halting the loss of biodiversity, supporting regional economy, travel slow, consume less, in your certification standards?
KM: Alpine Pearls has high quality standards for a sustainable holiday experience. All 27 Pearls of the Alps stand together for softly mobile travelling. All of our holiday resorts meet stringent quality criteria to assure that our guests will enjoy a stress- and carefree holiday while protecting our climate and preserving the environment. Soft mobility is our main focus: Environmentally friendly recreational activities, reduced-traffic town centres and mobility guarantees with convenient transfer services are a "must" for the Pearls. Very important is the focus on reaching the pearls by public transport (trains and busses).

VT: Which e.g. 3-5 exemplary "Alpine Pearls" businesses would you highlight to give our readers an idea of "Alpine Pearls" destinations in Europe?
KM: it is difficult to name "businesses" as such. Our members are villages and destinations, and these offer eg:
Werfenweng, Austria: focus on e-mobility (you can drive e-cars, e-bikes, segways, etc. - all for free). Werfenweng offers also excellent hiking facilities, horse coach trips, bus trips to Salzburg, etc.  Pick-up from the railway station directly to your hotel is for free and offered any time of the day. You can easily take a holiday without a car, you will not miss anything.

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?
KM: Generally, we are interested in any international recognition project, also the activities of GSTC. Any body or activity which adds value to our endeavours and activities is pricipally welcome. Of course, it would have to be carefully checked, if we can afford it - if the cost incurred is worth the effort.

VT:  What is your opinion of Rio+20?
KM: It is of course important to discuss sustainable development on a word wide scale. But it is also important to take actions: We and our member-villages are the ones which take actions, today.
Many more should act instead of discuss and wait until others take actions ....

VT:  If you had 3 wishes, what should the European Union decide?
KM: !!!  Railway services  in Europe have to be supported / improved / pushed  / promoted!!!

VT: What should tour operators and travel agencies be committed to as a common rule?
KM: They should at least KNOW (if not even sell!!!) about sustainable means of transport, environmental-friendly holiday solutions, and of alternatives to air-travels and long-haul-trips oversees....

 Find out more about the Alpine Pearls and see all their branded destinations here

Valere Tjolle

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Concerned URL /who-who/market-place/certifiers-section/europe-alpine-pearls
Keywords soft mobility,
Target group(s) Destinations
Topics Travel, Transport & Mobility