The third largest city in Alto Adige questions the usual tourist strategies and bets on the quality of services (also for residents)

In Bressanone the path to sustainable Alpine tourism is being paved.

It all started in 2023 when, in Alto Adige, something that was rarely talked about happened: the Autonomous Province of Bolzan or given a limit to the number of beds for hospitality.

"We have decided to focus on a new sustainable and far-sighted tourist culture for Alto Adige and we want to promote it also through a series of controls", stated Arnold Schuler, provincial councilor to tourism.

And Bressanone, the third largest city in Alto Adige, responded to the directive by questioning the usual tourism strategies, now clearly outdated, and shifting the focus. Whether it is a product or a service, designing means looking ahead and always dealing with the needs of those who use that product (or that service). This is the starting point that led Bressanone Turismo to the definition of eight challenges to face, starting today.

The 8 challenges for the 2024 season

Werner Zanotti, director of Bressanone Turismo and President of the tourist consortia of Alto Adige, illustrated to us the strategy implemented by Bressanone for the 2024 tourist season, entirely focused, sector by sector, on planning sustainable tourism.

The starting point, we must not forget, is that of a region that hosts 34 million overnight stays every year: numbers that cannot and do not make sense to increase, but must be managed in the best possible way.

1. Arrival and mobility in Alto Adige: 80% of CO2 production is caused by mobility - explains Werner Zanotti - which is why this year's proposal to hoteliers is to offer two prices: a lower cost for those arriving the destination by public transport.

2. Stay: Offering discounts or advantageous prices to those who stay more than two days is another way to reduce mobility: if the stay increases, the number of arrivals and departures decreases.

3. Exclusivity: it is a delicate topic, but it is inevitable to consider that there are places in the world that the traveler has the right to visit without finding himself in the middle of a crowd of people: the challenge is open, how to organize it without becoming arrogant ?

Bressanone Tursimo is working to accustom local people to instructing staff coming from outside: the need is 45,000 people, a figure impossible to reach only with local workers.

5. The local population: when the tourism impact is so strong, the population enjoys advantages, but also numerous disadvantages. The commitment of tourist bodies is to find a balance, putting residents back at the center to prevent them from making decisions against hospitality.

6. Innovation: the perspective is that of "trial & error”, innovate to improve. A decidedly antithetical direction compared to the conservative trend of current tourism.

7. The host family:is the reason why tourists return the most. We need to help families, especially the new generations, not to work and that's enough to prevent young people from leaving their businesses.

8. The gastronomic offer: one of the most appreciated proposals by visitors to South Tyrol is the local cuisine. However, it is a meat-based cuisine and the demand far exceeds the supply of local products: the commitment, therefore, is to train the chefs of the accommodation facilities to offer traditional, non-meat-based dishes.

The new Plose cable car

One of the first realized projects concerns mobility within the territory of Bressanone and, in particular, the Plose ski lift which has been completely redesigned (and inaugurated in July 2023 ) to respond to climate change and the consequent change in tourist habits.

We asked Alessandro Marzola, CEO of Plose Funivie, here are his answers: “The old cable car it had been in operation for 37 years and even before Covid it was showing signs of wear which pushed us to think about replacing that system with a system capable of better satisfying the summer customers who have much more complex needs than the athletes who use the plant in winter.

In the summer we have families with strollers, people in wheelchairs, mountain bikers and then the transport of mountaincarts. In 2021 we began to study as best we could what the characteristics of the new system were to satisfy these needs.

In our tender we asked the manufacturers to offer a gondola lift for 10 people which, in addition to comfort, also offered panoramic cabins to have as much view as possible. We asked that the system be sustainable in the sense of a reduction in energy consumption thanks to direct drive and that noise emissions were as low as possible in order not to create disturbances to the surrounding area.

While on the innovation front for the benefit of our customers we have asked for the following things:

_ Bike rack outside the cabin to allow passengers to travel comfortably without a bike between their legs. Furthermore, it had to be possible to hook the bike onto these bike racks without having to lift the bicycle, this is because the new E-bikes weigh up to 25 kg.

_ Automated transport system for mountain carts. Basically these g-carts in the past had to be lifted and placed inside a cabin. The cabins occupied by a mountain cart could not be occupied by people due to the lack of space for both.

The new system had to provide for the mountain carts to be transported outside the cabin by automatically hooking them under the body of the cabin, so that the cabin remained free for passengers and no operator had to intervene manually in the loading and unloading of these vehicles.”

The Bressanone Water Light Festival

The artistic and entertainment offer of the area, designed for the season, is fully part of the project of a new sustainable tourism. Among the proposals, we underline the importance of the Water Light Festival of Bressanone which this year responds to the theme "Water is life - light is art".

The festival is not only a celebration of visual art, but also a platform to reflect on important issues such as sustainability, awareness, diversity and the vision of an intact, varied and colorful nature. There are 15 light art installations in the public spaces of Bressanone, which can be admired for free in the evening from 9pm to midnight until 12 May.

This year, for the first time, the large exhibition will extend beyond the festival period until June 29th at the Abbey of Novacella where, under the curatorship of Bettina Pelz, 19 artists worked with light and digital media to address the dialogue between cultural heritage and contemporary art.

Lasserhaus: the new face of a historic residence

Art, innovation and respect for the territory are values that find the perfect fusion in some projects. This is the case of the new Lasserhaus Hotel, an Art Hotel with a contemporary spirit, created by the Vudafieri-Saverino Partners studio in a 15th century aristocratic residence.

Commissioned by the Faller family, owners of the building for over 40 years, the architects Claudio Saverino and Tiziano Vudafieri divided the spaces transforming the first two floors in a 4-star superior hotel and using the last two as a private residence for the family.

The new structure dedicated to hospitality offers ten rooms, including three suites, where the classical painting collection owned by the Fallers meets works by contemporary artists, thus making the space a new point of interest for the community.