post by : thea.villard
Ecotourism in Switzerland
What is Ecotourism and its principles?
First, we are going to introduce you to Ecotourism. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines it as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of local people, and involves interpretation and education”.
The principle of Ecotourism is to travel without damaging the nature and surroundings. Some of the main principles are to build environmental and cultural awareness, minimize physical, social, behavioural and psychological impacts or generate financial benefits for visitors and hosts.
We started caring about the well-being of the earth in the 70s and 80s and that is how this movement started.
Trends of Ecotourism in the world
We are becoming more aware of the impact our travels have on the environment and local communities we interact with, meaning that ecotourism has exploded over the last few years.
The first questioning travellers have when looking for destinations is: if I visit this place, will it have a negative impact on its inhabitants? According to a survey conducted by Booking.com, 60% of travellers would choose not to visit a place if doing so would have a negative effect. Moreover, lesser known destinations are chosen instead of overcrowded places, such as Athens, Venice or Rome.
The second point is about the environmental impact of stay. A study found that of the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced across the globe, 6.3 billion tonnes have become waste. Counteracting this has become one of the main sustainability issues of the moment.
Ecotourism in Switzerland
To illustrate Ecotourism in Switzerland, we choose to talk about Zermatt, famous all around the world for its amazing resorts, hotels, restaurants and especially the Matterhorn.
Zermatt started this tendency in order to have the less impact possible on the environment. Nowadays, more and more people are concerned about the environment and their impact on it.
Zermatt developed then a few things to contribute to the Ecotourism. For example, there are only electric cars permitted in the area. Also, they have been protecting the natural areas around Zermatt and they even got a price for it. Furthermore, they created an underground funicular railway in order to keep the landscape untouched.
To conclude, Zermatt is considered as an Ecotourism destination and, as mentioned above, does a lot for sustainable development. If Zermatt can do it, why not others?
Ecotourism in another country
Denmark is one of the greenest countries in the world. They reached this position in raising the costs on petrol and cars. The reaction of the inhabitants is to walk and ride bicycles. For that, the city of Copenhagen built cycling zone and made the traffic easier and secured. Private taxi companies also invested in carbon neutral taxis and taxi-bikes, and hotels are participating in improving the ecology and achieve goals to get the eco-label.
How Switzerland can improve ecotourism?
First of all, the big ski resorts present in Switzerland should think and act as Zermatt does. That means that more cities should have an “electric cars only” policy and care more about the environment itself and keep it as untouched as possible.
As for cars, we could also improve our bike and pedestrian paths to make it accessible for everyone. In some city, they already began to invest in bikes and rent them for free for everyone.
There are still a lot of improvements to make although we can notice that it becomes more popular. For example, on myswitzerland.com, a whole page about Ecotourism in Switzerland is dedicated. We can see that there are quite a lot of possibilities such as wildlife watching, discover Swiss nature in all its purity, swiss parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites, mountains and glaciers or even short hikes.