Before the presentation of the awards, host Fritz Lietsch, Chief Editor of the Forum Nachhaltig Wirtschaften (Sustainable Economy Forum) discussed with Simone Gruber from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), tourism expert Urs Wohler, the Director of Niesenbahn AG, and myclimate Head of Marketing Kai Landwehr the topic of "Responsibility for Sustainable Offerings in the Tourism Sector". During this discussion the myclimate «Cause We Care» programme was also presented.
As of last year, Bergbahnen Brunni-Engelberg has become the first completely climate-neutral cable care company in Switzerland. Brunni-Engelberg Bergbahnen has calculated the entire carbon footprint of its business and compensates for this by engaging in myclimate climate protection projects. With that, Brunni Bergbahnen is consolidating its existing efforts in the area of sustainability. Among other projects, in May of 2016 it had already brought its own solar power plant into operation in the Ristis mountains. Since last year, every mountain and valley ride has been climate-neutral for visitors. As such, Brunni-Engelberg was presented with the myclimate award "Pioneer — First Climate-Neutral Cable Car Company".
The honour of "Pioneer for Holistic Sustainability in the Hotel Business" went to Hotel Schweizerhof & The SPA. The premium Bernese hotel pursued an extensive, strategic approach. Employees were actively incorporated into the various sustainability offers. Hotel guests were able to play their part and make their overnight stay in the Schweizerhof climate-neutral for a small surcharge.
As a specialist provider, La Palma Travel offers individual travel experiences on the Canary Islands. Customers have the option to voluntarily compensate for their trip and stay in its entirety. Thanks to a clear approach and many measures for raising awareness about the issue, La Palma Travel presented a significantly higher approval rating for climate-neutral trips than has been achieved by comparable travel offers sold online. Consequently, La Palma Travel received the myclimate Award 2019 "Pioneer for Sustainable Travel Experiences".
Urs Wohler, Director of Niesenbahn AG, based in the Bernese Oberland, was recognised with myclimate award "Climate Pioneers for Mountain Holiday Destinations". Niesenbahn AG is among the first companies in Switzerland to join myclimate's new "Cause We Care" programme. The majority of Niesenbahn's offers are sold via telephone. This direct contact with customers leads to a greater awareness for and acceptance of sustainability measures. As a first step, an investment in its own employees was made using resources from the "Cause We Care" fund for the purposes of training them in environmental protection and sustainability.
"Travel is a valuable commodity. Whether we are able to continue to enjoy it for much longer depends largely on how we structure our offers. As such, we are happy to give climate pioneers a platform with these awards," said Kai Landwehr, Head of Marketing at myclimate.
Cause We Care — Discussion on the responsibility for sustainable offers
Before the awards were presented, host Fritz Lietsch put the focus of discussion with his guests on the subject of responsibility. Together, they spoke about whether the responsibility for ensuring that travel offers are as sustainable as possible lies solely with the provider or rather with the customer. In the course of this discussion the myclimate "Cause We Care" programme was also presented.
"Transparent and simple processes are decisive in persuading customers to accept climate-friendly travel offers. Wherever climate protection and sustainability are highly integrated into a company and the employees support these ideas, the result is a high acceptance rate on the part of the customer," stated Kai Landwehr, summarising the guarantee for success with regard to sustainable travelling.
The discussion and award ceremony took place on the Thursday of the trade show at 5:15 p.m. on the ITB Adventure Stage in hall 4.1 in Berlin.