The Austrian National Tourist Office hosted a press conference at the Austrian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai joined by guests from the Salzburger Land Tourist Board and Wagrain Tourist Board on 28th of March. The press briefing highlighted the sustainability message that Austria has brought to Expo 2020 Dubai, showcased opportunities of sustainable travel in Austria, and shed light on how conscious tourism can play a key role in preserving natural resources and lowering carbon footprint.
Sustainability in travel and tourism is extremely important for Austria and is woven into its very fabric. The country aims to be climate neutral by 2040 and is actively incorporating soft mobility, sustainable building and accommodation practices, recycling and upcycling, and organic farming while rapidly transforming its tourism industry to meet its ambitious goal.
During the press conference, Robert Groeblacher, Director Middle East of the Austrian National Tourist Office, said, “The future of this world depends on the choices we make today. In Austria, every sector and industry, including tourism, is working to preserve the environment, and we are proud of the progress we have made so far. We welcome visitors from around the world to experience the magic of conscious travel, and to explore the beauty, glory, and pristine nature of Austria. We are confident that this is the only kind of travel people would want to do in the times to come.”
Philipp Schramel, Director of the Austrian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai echoed similar sentiments when he said, “Austria brought the message of sustainability to Expo 2020 through its pavilion’s climate-sensitive, cutting-edge, and ingenious architecture. The design showcases Austria’s vision and mission to adopt sustainable practices in every area – including travel and tourism.”
The conference highlighted several examples of how Austria is successfully catering to the conscious traveller of today. The country boasts multiple climate-friendly and sustainable hotels, venues, and accommodations, such as Boutiquehotel Stadthalle in Vienna, that have sustainable practices at the heart of what they do. The hotel has zero-energy balance and consumes 100 percent of the energy it produces from its groundwater heat pump, photovoltaic technology, and solar panels. Additionally, the property also recycles all of its trash, uses eco shower heads and LED lights, and offers guests the ‘Green Bonus’ to encourage them to travel with reduced Co2 means of transport. It is one of the thousands of properties throughout Austria that is at the forefront of sustainable tourism. This ethos is not limited to properties only. Entire regions, cities and towns in Austria are seeing rapid climate-friendly transformation.
Wagrain-Kleinarl, a beautiful town in Salzburgerland, is another great example where sustainability is increasingly taking centre stage. The CEO of the Wagrain Tourist Board, Stefan Passrugger, explained further: “Sustainability encompasses many areas at this picturesque destination. We are working towards becoming the first certified Green Destination in the Alpine Region. Travellers to Wagrain-Kleinarl are warmly welcomed and offered an array of options that help them enjoy a dream holiday that is also climate-friendly. Sustainable accommodation, activities, restaurants, products and much more will make an eco-friendly holiday a preferred choice for many in the days to come.”
Another town in Salzburgerland that is renowned for its sustainable practices is Werfenweg. It is a model location for soft mobility. The town combines environmental awareness and mobility by offering diverse climate-friendly mobility options such as e-bikes, personal holiday shuttle E-LOIS, e-car rentals, SVV tickets that allow guests to use public transport throughout Salzburg free of charge, and bicycle taxis.
In the entire province of Salzburg, thousands of electrically-powered public buses and trolleys run in a bid to decrease traffic. Yvonne Rosenstatter, Head of Marketing, Salzburg State Tourist Board, stresses on the importance of sustainable holidays by saying: “We don’t look at green travelling as a trend, but as an authentic way of life that has been lived in Salzburgerland for a long time. We are proud to be a leading destination in Europe when it comes to sustainable tourism thanks to the myriad offerings our state has in this field. Whether tourists are seeking action packed eco holidays, quiet peaceful breaks amid beautiful nature, or a combination of both; Salzburgerland offers it all.”
Additionally, throughout Austria, free public transport such as hiking buses and ski shuttles are in operation while car-free zones around cities and towns reduce the use of vehicles further.
A sustainable mindset weaves its way throughout Austria’s travel and tourism sector, from organic farming practices in the valleys, right up to the mountains where ski lifts are powered by renewable energy sources. For tourists visiting the European nation, it’s an added value to know that holiday memories won’t leave an environmental mark.