The Swiss town of
When the visitor has had his fill of ambience, Arosa has plenty to offer in the way of sport. From the skiers taking in the view from the gondola station at the 2,653-meter (8,622-foot) summit of the Weisshorn to the ice skaters spinning on the lake on the valley floor, Arosa is an Alpine sporting feast. In fact, there are so many sporting and non-sporting options that it’s the type of place where one doesn’t have to ski to have a fun-filled holiday.
Hans-Kaspar Schwarzenbach is the tourist director for Arosa. Mr. Schwarzenbach has been instrumental in launching a program to offset the carbon dioxide emissions produced by tourists in the stunning mountain resort.
To compensate for greenhouse gasses, Arosa promises to invest in renewable energy production for every guest who books a ski package through the tourist office.
For the program to engage, visitors must be willing to fill out a form declaring the details of their journey – the mode of transportation and distance covered, the hotel, whether a ski pass is purchased, etc. That information is used to calculate the carbon footprint and renewable energy credits necessary to offset the vacation. The tourism office gains important travel and demographic information about its visitors as a byproduct.
The “climate neutral” booking program is funded through the income generated by the resort’s tourist tax, which is included in the price of the hotel.
“We decided to launch the scheme for a number of reasons. Mountain areas are among the hardest hit by climate change, so we have to do more than just talk about the problem,” said Schwarzenbach. “And we are providing visitors with added value – instead of a welcome drink, for example, we neutralize their CO2.”
Schwarzenbach said about $32,000 would be transferred to the biogas facility in
“Next winter, there’ll be a TGV (fast train from
Obviously, the tourism department of Arosa has established a culture based on developing environmental solutions within the context of an economy which is highly dependent upon tourism. Kudos to Mr. Schwarzenbach for providing the leadership – I doubt it was a unanimous decision.
I’m not aware of any resort in