Partner Portrait – Tourism region Engadin, Scuol, Samnaun, Val Müstair: “We cannot leave here!”

9. October 2015

“And we have no desire to either. We have the opportunity to actively help shape our holiday region. Anything that is not “fit for grandchildren”, is harmful or destined to fail. That’s why we focus on our own strengths, values and achievements, and we accept responsibility for our actions.”

sustainability, climate protection, tourism, Scuol, Urs Wohler, Engadin, Samnaun, Val Müstair

Urs Wohler – Tourism Director of the Engadine, Scuol, Samnaun, Val Müstair region in an interview with myclimate

These are the words of Urs Wohler, Tourism Director of the holiday region Engadin Scuol Samnaun Val Müstair (TESSVM). His words are put into action, whether by the region’s employees choosing to travel to work by e-Bike instead of by company car or by making it easier to travel to the holiday region by public transport thanks to the "Domincil da vacanzas" luggage collection service. Climate protection is a cornerstone of this commitment. TESSVM's operations are climate-neutral with myclimate as is the annual bike marathon a major event. Scuol is the setting for one of the most scenically beautiful myclimate Audio Adventures. TESSVM is also the pilot region for the latest myclimate Swiss climate protection project. . Last but not least, the region also participated in the 'Klimaschutz – jetzt und hier" programme.

In the interview Urs Wohler comments on the question of whether it is at all possible to combine tourism and climate protection.

Where and how can visitors to Lower Engadine experience the region’s commitment to sustainability?

Individual experiences make up the overall experience: Our guests make use of the tight-meshed and coordinated public transport system in the region and beyond, as well as the numerous "holiday tips" (guest programme), which bring them closer to nature and culture. Some of them might even participate in the climate-neutral National Park Bike Marathon, or head off on the water themed "myclimate Audio Adventure Scuol”, or see the numerous brochures which are printed climate neutrally and here in the region.

Do sustainability and climate protection actually bring more visitors and tourists to you?

Not directly and noticeably. But the guests who come here and those who inform themselves about our region in brochures and on the Internet, sooner or later notice our distinctive attentive and consistent approach to our resources and values. Some of them may read relevant articles in the media, which also has an impact on our image and our positioning.

How do you reconcile the contradiction between "protecting nature" on the one hand and "providing guests with an infrastructure in natural surroundings" on the other?

We justify this consistently with "three-dimensional sustainability". While ecology is important, there has to be a demand for it, if a region wants to be economically successful. And as we see it, ecology and economy are in a state of equilibrium, if the local populace can live well on the values and achievements of the region the whole year round.

TESSVM as a sustainable tourist destination; what is your vision?

We want to be the holiday region that plays a pioneering role in all five areas that we cater to (summer, winter, nature and culture, health and wellness, duty-free), and set a good example for others. This includes the highly lucrative winter business, as well as travel to the destination, over which we ultimately have no control. Pioneers are needed in order to be able to allow others to benefit. So we aim, and are able, to profit from our very high standards – offering benefits for the people that live here - and set a good example for everyone else.

Why should I spend my next winter, spring or summer holiday in Lower Engadine?

Holidays in the region are characterised by an impressively diverse range of offers and corresponding possible combinations. We offer our guests numerous exclusivities such as the largest ski region in the eastern Alps (with three different ski areas), the Engadin Bad Scuol, Switzerland's only duty-free shopping paradise Samnaun, the UNESCO monastery Müstair, the distinctive holiday villages, Romanesque culture, as well as an extensive guest programme including lectures, guided tours and excursions. The offering is rounded off by numerous events and an attractive offer away from the slopes. According to a nationwide evaluation of the guest reviews, we are the most friendly holiday region in Switzerland - with Samnaun at the top of the list.

In March 2015, TESSVM was the first destination to receive the myclimate Award for its commitment at the international tourism fair ITB.

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