TourCert Journal

Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations: Update on the first three months since the network was founded

Hohes Gras im Sonnenuntergang

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The Network Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations has now been active for three months. Time to take a look back! Due to Corona, the planned founding act as part of the presence event “Network Forum Sustainable Tourism” together with the German Tourism Association (DTV) had to be postponed. As an alternative, a digital start was carried out on June 03 with already 9 founding members. Since then a lot has happened: there has been a steady growth among the members, a network’s own online platform has been established and the first network meeting took place in Saarbrücken at the beginning of September.

13 members from 7 federal states

In the first few months, the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations has already been able to attract 13 members from 7 German states. Talks are currently being held with other interested members. The current list and further information about the members can be found at: www.tourcert.org/projects/exzellenzinitiative/.

Are you also interested in becoming a member? Here you can find more information about the requirements for membership and the added value of the network.

Partnerships & Cooperations

In addition to membership, tourism associations, organizations and initiatives are offered the opportunity to become strategic partners of the Excellence Initiative. This requires concrete services on the part of the respective partners in order to generate added value for the members. Cooperation inquiries are gladly accepted over info@tourcert.org.

Logo of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Travel Destinations
The Sustainable Destinations Excellence Initiative has now been active for three months and has already achieved some successes.

Online exchange platform

The Corona crisis has presented the tourism industry with major challenges in recent weeks and months. Many events and meetings could no longer be held in a presence format as usual. Instead, digital formats developed and will certainly continue to accompany us for some time to come. This development is also the starting point for the Excellence Initiative. Members exchange information via a network’s own online platform, for example about the Corona crisis and its consequences for destinations, sustainable mobility, climate protection and adaptation in the destination or the interaction with sustainable partners in the destination. For each topic, there are various digital working groups in which members share content and best practices in order to learn from each other and develop further.

A screenshot of the tixxt portal of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Travel Destinations
The Excellence Initiative’s online platform is used to exchange information on various topics and share best practices.

Knowledge Portal Sustainable Destinations

Under the leadership of KATE Environment and Development TourCert is involved in the development of the online-based knowledge portal Sustainable Destinations. The platform, which is funded by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), will provide important information, tips and offers relating to sustainability in German tourism and is also intended to be an important contact point for members of the Excellence Initiative. The knowledge portal is expected to be officially launched at the end of 2020. From 2021, the Excellence Initiative will be responsible for the content of the knowledge portal.

Meadow with trees in the Black Forest
The member destinations of the Excellence Initiative are popular vacation destinations, including the Northern Black Forest – part of Germany’s largest low mountain range.

First network meeting in Saarland

The first presence event of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Travel Destinations took place from September 8-9. Numerous members as well as some representatives of other interested destinations met in Saarbrücken to reflect together on the first months of the network and to discuss the next activities of the initiative. In addition, a content-related focus was set on the topics of sustainable tourism offers in destinations as well as action priorities in the restart-corona phase. Impulses were provided on the question of how a sustainable product design can be ambitious in content and at the same time successfully placed on the market.

The event started on September 8th around noon with a short exchange of information between existing members and potential members about details of the network structure and the planned activities in 2020 and 2021. The afternoon was then dedicated to the main topic “Sustainable design of offers” and the group was pleased to receive presentations on the contents by the expert Wolfgang Günther from the Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe (N.I.T.) on the question “How much sustainability do our guests want” and the expert Dagmar Lund-Durlacher (MODUL University Vienna, Center for Sustainable Tourism ZENAT) on “Tourism and Corona – more sustainable out of the crisis? Further inputs from the circle of members were provided by Yvonne Bethage from the Tourist Association of Saxon Switzerland, Nadine Schubert from the German Wine Route Association and René Skiba from the Tourism Company Northern Black Forest. They reported on their own status quo of sustainable product design and gave insights into existing challenges and open questions. Furthermore, there were contributions from the sustainable partner network of the host Saarland Tourist Board. Michael Buchna, managing partner of the Country Hotel Saarschleife and president of the German hotel and restaurant association, spoke about his understanding of sustainability and employee motivation and Sören Sturm, responsible for environmental education, nature experience, communication, regional development in the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park, presented the development of Germany’s youngest national park and gave insights into sustainable product design on site.

Wolfgang Günter from the Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe (N.I.T.)
Wolfgang Günther from the Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe gives a lecture on “How much sustainability do guests want” at the network meeting of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations.

On the second day of the event (September 9th), the focus was on a look into practice and the group got to know the Country Guesthouse Wintringer Hof as an agricultural inclusion enterprise. Peter Lupp, cultural officer of the Saarbrücken regional association, Elke Birkelbach and Pia Schramm from the biosphere association and Samu Ocak from the Country Guesthouse Wintringer Hof and Lothar Wilhelm from a forestry project in the Bliesgau biosphere reserve gave the group a great insight into the work and offers of the company.

The group of the network meeting Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations in front of the Wintringer Chapel in Kleinblittersdorf.
The participants of the network meeting of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations visit the Country Guesthouse Wintringer Hof in the Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve on whose grounds the Wintringer Chapel is located.

The participants of the network meeting of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations visit the country inn Wintringer Hof in the Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve on whose grounds the Wintringer Chapel is located.
The initiators of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Travel Destinations is very much looking forward to further events of this kind and to new input for the design of the Excellence Initiative and thus the shaping of sustainability in German tourism.

The development of the Excellence Initiative Sustainable Destinations is funded within the framework of the program for the improvement of performance and promotion of innovation in tourism of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi). Partners are the Saarland Tourist Board and the Tourism Company Northern Black Forest, which are certified as sustainable destinations and implement sustainability issues in an exemplary manner.

You have unfortunately missed the digital launch or would like to watch it again? Click here for the recording (in German):

 

Tags
Corona, Saarbrücken, sustainable offers

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