APT Valsugana Tourism Board has joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a destination member.

Valsugana is located in northeastern Italy, with 62,000 inhabitants in 24 municipalities. After 15 years of planning, designing, implementing and monitoring the tourism activity in their area, Valsugana Tourism Board realized it was the right time to start opening a conversation on what has already been done and what can be the a future tourism development that takes into account a need for a more quality tourism and for respect towards the lifestyle of local communities.

In 2018, the Valsugana Tourism Board decided to pursue certification to show that it is indeed a sustainable tourism destination. With support from GSTC Member Etifor Srl, in June 2019 Valsugana was certified as a sustainable destination in accordance to the GSTC Destination Criteria by Vireo Srl, a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body.

The story of Valsugana’s path towards sustainability certification was shared at the GSTC 2019 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference in the Azores. Since achieving certification, Valsugana has been an Inspiring case study for other Italian destinations.

“We warmly welcome Valsugana, the first destination in Italy and one of the very few worldwide to achieve a certification in accordance with the GSTC Destination Criteria,” says Luigi Cabrini, GSTC Chairman. “Valsugana has adopted a 360 degrees approach to sustainability, focusing on environment protection, enhancement of its rich culture and involvement of the local communities in its tourism strategy. An excellent example for other destinations!”

“Among our long-run strategic goals, we have decided to integrate a big focus on actions towards sustainability, involving the whole community in the process. This concept is already widespread and part of the local culture; the moment has now come to systematize what already is common knowledge and implement it with new actions, making our destination more and more ‘naturally true.’ We are looking forward to collaborating with other destinations worldwide in order to achieve even higher results to the reaching of the 17 SDGs,” says Stefano Ravelli, ATP Valsugana Destination Manager.

“These are the reason why Valsugana is sustainable: Waste separation in the municipalities of the area exceeds 70%; We are energy self-sufficient thanks to renewable energy sources mostly hydroelectric; Our clear lakes of Levico and Caldonazzo are Blue Flag certified; We preserve the largest area of wilderness in Trentino: the magnificent mountain range of Lagorai; We offer our guests a genuine and authentic welcome; Tourism in Valsugana comes from our territory for our territory; We manage seasonality in a sustainable way, promoting activities and events throughout the year; We preserve environmental and cultural resources; Our air is crisp and pure…”

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, which eventually can lead to being certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body.