Villages of Alpinism

Small and fine Villages of Alpinism to enjoy and dwell

Topic area
Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation

Disaggregation level
Value added
Local amenities
Energy efficiency
Climate protection
Protected areas
Nature conservation
Environmental protection
Direct marketing
Short supply chains
Knowledge transfer

Project region
Lower Austria
Upper Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
März 2015-Dezmeber 2017 (geplantes Projektende)

EN - 7.6.5. Stärkung der Potenziale des alpinen ländlichen Raums

Project initiator
Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV)

Short description

‘Villages of Alpinism’ are communities, districts and valleys in Austria that are motivated by their own innovative, responsible and straightforward way to build up a gentle summer and winter tourism or to maintain and/or improve their previous approach. The Villages of Alpinism were founded by the Austrian Alpine Association (ÖAV) and offer the currently 20 Austrian Villages of Alpinism a platform to present their offer. As an official implementation project of the Alpine Convention (since 2016), the initiative is committed to sustainable development throughout the Alpine region.

Point of departure

One consideration was to initiate a positive project, which on the one hand actively sets a good example and on the other hand contributes to the development of the Alpine region, which as a place of longing for many members of the Alpine Association.

Targets and target groups

The Austrian mountain villages are exemplary regional development centres in sustainable alpine tourism with a corresponding tradition. They guarantee a high-quality tourist offer for mountaineers and mountain hikers, have an excellent landscape and environmental quality and are committed to the preservation of local cultural and natural values. As alpine competence centres, Villages of Alpinism rely on the personal responsibility, ability and sovereignty as well as environmentally sound and responsible behaviour of their guests on the mountain. This role model effect of the Villages of Alpinism also extends to the active effort to achieve the goal of sustainable development in the Alpine region. The promotion and further development of the mountain villages is in accordance with the implementation protocols of the Alpine Convention. In case of doubt, values such as nature and landscape have priority in Villages of Alpinism. In the long term, both the preservation of nature and the promotion of sustainable management should benefit the local population - as an alternative to relentless landscape use and mass tourism, but with a chance of sustainable, year-round jobs. The target group are mountain lovers with an affinity to nature, who can be addressed precisely at member level, especially within the framework of the association's work.

Project implementation and measures

High-quality printed materials - such as the complete brochure as well as individual brochures and the Alpine history booklets for each village - are very well received. The public will be informed through the website (new from summer 2017), a partner newsletter and also the Facebook channel. Within the association, the members of the Alpine Association are regularly informed about news and offers via the membership magazine and the association channels. More than 100 partner companies in the villages of mountain valleys alone in Austria and the mountain huts around the mountain villages offer an attractive accommodation infrastructure, which enables the practice of the most varied mountain sports at all seasons. At the same time, regional and local networking and value creation should be stimulated through the exchange between partners (communities, tourism associations, partner companies, hut proprietors, local suppliers, etc.). Another focus is on soft mobility and public transportation, while major infrastructure projects such as ski area connections or large hotel projects may even lead to exclusion from the initiative.

Results and effects

Due to the strong interest from neighboring countries, there are, within the framework of partnership agreements between alpine associations and the commitment to the common criteria and philosophy of the initiative, Villages of Alpinism in Germany since 2015. In July 2017 the first South Tyrolean village will be accepted and further candidates from Slovenia and other countries will follow soon. This means that almost 2 million Alpine club members are currently being reached!