Sustainability in tourism is often preached, but rarely actually implemented, tourism experts criticized at a conference at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (Tennengau). The conference was held under the motto “Tourism goes green”.
The conference was organized by the University of Applied Sciences together with the Salzburger Land Tourismus GmbH. The participating experts clearly emphasized that the term “sustainable” IS really overused nowadays. Sustainability is also a constant topic in tourism, observes Christian Baumgartner, Professor of Sustainable Tourism at the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. “Most sustainability strategies in tourism have the word sustainable in the preamble, but then again it is completely missing in the action plan,” criticizes Baumgartner.
“Funding policy partly responsible for the discrepancy”
Baumgartner cites the promotion policy in tourism as an example of the discrepancy between confessing and doing. We still have a lot of funding that promotes non-sustainable behavior,” says the tourism expert. He refers to winter sports – according to Baumgartner, climate change is not promoting sustainable innovations here, but snow-making systems. “That’s completely anachronistic.” , criticizes the expert.
Business models for alternatives are missing
Everyone is now talking about change, but there is still a lack of business models. In winter tourism, Baumgartner sees a gap in the lower-lying ski areas. “There are still no business models that represent alternatives. That would be high time to start thinking seriously.” The tourism expert warns that in the end, it is all about nothing less than economic survival for lower-lying areas.