Zürich Tourism – pioneer of sustainable urban tourism

Zurich Tourism is responsible for the destination marketing of the city and region of Zurich and, therefore, for the brand profiling of both as diverse tourism destinations. The organisation set ambitious goals for sustainable development early on: it signed the Swiss Tourism Sustainability Charter back in 2009 and subsequently introduced quality and environmental management systems in accordance with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, respectively. The following year, Zurich Tourism decided to partner with myclimate. It was the first Swiss tourism body to calculate its operational CO2 emissions. To offset its unavoidable emissions, it contributes to a myclimate climate protection project in Madagascar. Since 2015, it has published its environmental, social and economic goals in a comprehensive sustainability strategy. An in-house “sustainability circle” is responsible for embedding a sustainability culture throughout the organisation and for developing, as a team, meaningful measures to achieve the goals.

As a destination, Zurich regularly features towards the top of international sustainability rankings, such as the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, in which it claimed the top spot in 2016, and the Mercer Quality of Living Ranking 2019, in which it was ranked it second. Zurich is also one of the most sustainable conference cities in the world, achieving the third-highest number of points in the 2019 Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS). Zurich Tourism incorporates Zurich’s strengths – including its clean water, high quality of life and diversity – in its destination marketing, helping leisure and business travellers experience Zurich in a sustainable way – from the moment they first think about visiting to their actual stay.

For example, all excursions bookable via Zurich Tourism can be experienced in an environmentally friendly way. Zurich Tourism city tours are conducted on foot and so are particularly easy on the environment. Third-party partners or – thanks to the myclimate “Cause We Care” initiative – guests booking online can make contributions to climate protection projects for emissions from excursions by train, bus or boat. As a gesture of appreciation, Zurich Tourism will double this contribution, thus further promoting climate protection measures in Zurich.

In addition to these operational measures and guest involvement initiatives, raising the awareness of and training tourism stakeholders play a major role. For example, Zurich Tourism regularly informs its members about new initiatives or training opportunities, and gives guest presentations to students. As a member of both the Swiss Tourism Association’s Sustainable Tourism Specialist Group and European Cities Marketing’s Sustainable Knowledge Group, Zurich Tourism regularly exchanges knowledge and experiences with other tourism destinations.

With these various measures and commitments, Zurich Tourism is an exemplar for how cities and regions can help tourism develop sustainably.

Further information and links:

Partner portrait: Zurich Tourism

Zurich Tourism sustainability web page


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