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Sustainable tourism

Projects and initiatives

The 2016/2017 national competition "Sustainable tourist destinations in Germany": The Schwäbische Alb biosphere reserve is an excellent example of how a consistently sustainable approach can strengthen the sense of community and identity among the local people. This was one of the reasons why the expert jury chose this project as the contest winner. On the initiative of the German Bundestag, the BMUB developed the national competition "Sustainable tourist destinations", which was carried out for the first time in 2012/2013 (the first winner was the Uckermark region). The aim of this competition is to recognise efforts by regions that are particularly active in the field of sustainable tourism. It also creates an incentive for the further development of domestic tourism. Following a review and update of the indicators for designating sustainable tourist destinations, the national competition was carried out again for 2016/17 in accordance with the resolution by the Tourism Committee of the German Bundestag. The goal was to further strengthen sustainable tourism in Germany and to increase awareness. The award was presented to the winning destination on 17 June 2017 at the Federal Environment Ministry in Berlin.

The leisure portal Naturtrip shows an interactive map illustrating the most attractive destinations for trips such as beaches, wildlife parks and canoe hire sites. Currently it is only available for Berlin and Brandenburg, but there are plans to expand to other regions too. The tips the website provides are easily accessible by public transport or bike from your chosen point of departure. It has never been so easy to leave the car behind and head off to enjoy nature. Naturtrip.org was financed by funds from the Federal Environment Ministry’s National Climate Initiative.

What effect is climate change having on tourism in winter months? Many people whose livelihoods depend on tourism are concerned about this issue, not only in Germany’s Alpine region. Global warming, which is advancing at an even faster pace in the Alps than at lower altitudes, is already having a tangible effect today on the snow fall that winter tourism in the Alps depends on. This brochure summarises the latest climate and tourism trends in winter tourism and shows how the expectations of German holidaymakers for a holiday during the winter months have developed in recent years. Adaptation strategies for tourist destinations and best case examples that give due consideration to all aspects of sustainable development illustrate how winter tourism in the Alpine region can be shaped in a future-oriented way, despite the considerable competition from other destinations at home and abroad.

The Federal Environment Ministry is making its mark through additional research and model projects regarding the promotion of environmentally sound tourism in Germany and sustainable tourism trends in holiday destinations abroad frequented by German tourists. Specific measures aim to support the improved integration of environmental protection, climate action and biodiversity conservation into corporate decisions and tourist attractions.

Support is provided, for example, for nature-based and environmental education experiences in national natural landscapes, cooperation with nature conservation, tourism and sport on implementing the National Strategy on Biological Diversity, organising sustainable trips for children and young people (Change and the City, Zero Impact Camps), and the nationwide energy-saving campaign in hotels on increasing energy and resource efficiency and protecting the climate, in cooperation with DEHOGA, the German Hotels and Restaurants Association.

The Federal Environment Ministry is also active internationally in the field of tourism. Under the Alpine Convention during Germany’s presidency in 2015/2016, a conference was held on 8 June 2016 on "Sustainable tourism in the Alps: A challenge (without alternative)". The conference was held in Sonthofen in Bavaria as a representative of the Alpine Town of the Year Network. The Federal Environment Ministry is also involved in the tourism programme of the UN 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.