Tourism Symposium at Munich University of Applied Sciences sheds light on how visitors and suppliers in the Alpine region adapt to climate change.
In April 2011 tourism researchers from the German-speaking Alpine countries met at Munich University of Applied Sciences and presented results gained from the EU-project ClimAlpTour. In this context new facts concerning the supply and demand side were introduced. ClimAlpTour aims at strategies on how tourism destinations can face climate change. A total of 17 partners (11 of them research institutes) with 22 model regions from all over the Alps are working together in this project.
Round about 50 experts such as tourism researchers and (local) stakeholders from the field of Alpine tourism attended the symposium conducted by the Department of Tourism of Munich University of Applied Sciences. The researchers showed results from applied research methods used in the project (Delphi-study, source market survey, network analysis and various workshops held in the destinations). On-site experiences were discussed and compared, as Alpine tourism destinations differ in terms of altitude, location, infrastructure, economic wealth and level of cooperation. One of the results addressed to suppliers was rather to optimize the climate impact within the tourism supply than to use climate protection as a sales argument.
The HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (Delphi-study) as well as Munich University of Applied Sciences (source market analysis) discovered that most of the tourists are not interested in changing their travel behaviour due to climate change issues. While HSR researchers found out that economic incentives should be preferred to regulative prohibition strategies, Munich researchers expect a rather cost-driven adaptation, e.g. by choosing destinations nearby, fewer air trips and less energy-intensive travels. The uncertainty among consumers as well as the gap between awareness and concrete actions was also mentioned by keynote speaker Ron Schmid from BIO-Hotels - his conclusion: "We cannot leave our guest with their uncertain fear. If necessary we have to make the decision for them and just do it."
Within their network analysis the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur assessed "parish-pump politics" as one of the problems in Alpine tourism and called attention to the communication problems between the "big fish" and smaller stakeholder groups. The first round of workshops organized by the University of Innsbruck displayed three totally different initial positions of the participating pilot sites. However, in the second round all three considered "authenticity", "health" and "nature" as promising fields for Alpine tourism development. Further practical approach was presented by the Alpine Research Institute (AFI) which is currently working on an Alpine nature experience park for the community of Grainau. In addition to that the AFI makes a feasibility study for a potential nature park on the Bavarian side of the Karwendel region.
Overall 22 very different model regions are working together in the ClimAlpTour-project. Based on stakeholder- and visitor-surveys, conducted by the Institut de la Montagne in cooperation with the team of Munich University of Applied Sciences, pilot site profiles and product portfolios were created. Within this analysis major differences between summer and winter destinations as well as between the supply and demand-side were discovered.
Professor Dr. Felix Kolbeck work package leader and host of the symposium stated that the focus for Alpine destinations should be on adaptation rather than on mitigation. The guests do not want to make a "climate holiday" but should be addressed by appealing themes like sports and wellness.
According to Professor Dr. Felix Kolbeck the sustainability paradigm of "ecologic-economic-social" equality could be transferred to the tourism market, where it would translate into cost effectiveness (for suppliers), quality of holiday (for guests) and quality of life (for local residents). Johannes Reißland general manager of forum anders reisen e.V. and keynote speaker at the symposium illustrated the approach of sustainable tourism metaphorically quoting an Asian saying: "Using fire you can make soup or you can burn the house. We want to make soup."
All presentations (in German) are available at www.tourismus.hm.edu.
The project ClimAlpTour is funded by the EU-Alpine Space Programme and will be terminated by the end of 2011.
Munich University of Applied Sciences, Department of Tourism
Dipl. Betriebswirtin (FH) Ilka Cremer, Prof. Dr. Felix Kolbeck
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The aim in this WP is the analysis of the impact of climate change on alpine tourism destinations. For alpine destinations, which are strongly affected by the aspects of climate change, it is important to identify adaptations options in strategy and product development. WP 5, which is based on data generated in WP 4 and previous studies (e.g. ClimChAlp), will support through the impact analysis WP 6 in the identificiation of such adaptation strategies. These strategies will enable alpine stakeholders to meet the challenges of climate change. Thereby the competitveness and attractivness of the Alpine Space in comparision to other destinations in Europe and worldwide will be enanced considerably.
An evaluation of the destination´s characteristics, product portfolio and vulnerability will be conducted for each pilot region, resp. data collection destination, in order to identify the impact of climate change. Key aspects are
- environmental analysis
- social analysis
- economical analysis
An environmental, social and economic analysis of the impacts of climate change on tourism destinations selected as pilot regions in WP 4. Analysis of current strategies of national and international stakeholders in order to validate the adaptation strategies in the pilot regions. Input for WP 6 and WP 7.