"We are very pleased that Rhône-Alpes appreciates the benefits of theALPS and that it will be assuming host status in 2013," said Josef Margreiter
, Tyrol's director of tourism and one of the architects of theALPS. He continued: "For me it proves that Marc Béchet
, my counterpart in Rhônes-Alpes, and his team, plus all the other people with responsibility for tourism, are not just far-sighted, but are also keen to think beyond frontiers and are prepared to invest in innovation." On 12 July 2012, Marc Béchet, director of tourism for the Rhône-Alpes region, welcomed Mr Margreiter to Lyons where together they gave journalists and selected tourism entrepreneurs further information on theAlps concept. Mr Béchet was pleased with how things went and is looking forward to hosting the event in 2013: "The Rhône-Alpes region is looking forward very much to the partnership with theALPS network, as this offers a valuable opportunity to share experiences from within the tourism industry across the European Alpine region. I am sure that by combining forces we can increase tourist revenues not just in winter and but in summer as well. This partnership promises to bring about a full exchange of experience, expertise and innovation. By holding theALPS 2013
in France, we can transform the loose association formed by theALPS partner regions into something much stronger. The idea of a central transalpine trade event was mooted some years ago, and after a taster in 2010, the première took place in Innsbruck in 2011. Josef Margreiter believes that by bundling our offering together, we can get a better hearing above all the international tourist cacophony. "By publicising our offer progamme at a transalpine level, we are making that offering more attractive to our guests." Marc Béchet added: "We must work together to highlight the unity of the cross-border Alpine region. Co-operation in the form of international promotion sends out a very positive signal."
The innovative event format of theALPS serves as a meeting point not just for dedicated tourism decision-makers from throughout the Alpine region, but also for their partners in sales, marketing and the media. A central theme running through the event is an exchange of ideas and raising awareness: at theALPS Symposium, through business contacts and in the way we do business in theALPS trading room and also through benchmarking in theALPS award.
Mr Margeiter stressed the importance of this new trade fair and network format: "A shared event is an important part of our Alpine network. We are not a talking shop or an ideas forum, instead we trade and measure up to the international competition. It is also important that we consciously see this event as a lobbying platform, where current trends and strategic considerations have a place. In the process we are also strengthening our joint media and PR work."
A voice for tourism from the Alpine regions
Up until now theALPS partner regions of Bavaria, Grisons, Rhônes-Alpes, Salzburg, South Tyrol, Tyrol, Trentino, Vorarlberg and Valais have formed a loose network of shared interests. This co-operation between theALPS partners will in the near future be put on a more formal footing. Mr Margeiter revealed one of the next steps for this transalpine network: "There will be an association, which will have the strength to act as a unit and to speak up for tourism in the Alpine regions."
Going forward, there must be a boost to co-operation in the areas of science and research. The results of jointly commissioned studies could, for example, form a better basis for decision-making as we develop tomorrow's offering. One topic which will challenge all Alpine regions equally is the already emerging and necessary change in Alpine winter tourism. Mr Margreiter again: "We are seeing that the opportunities for skiers are now growing only in a few sectors, e.g. in backcountry skiing or in the eastern European market. We must identify new opportunities from our current position of strength and exploit our successful, international position in the market going forward."
Mr Margreiter also sees great growth potential ahead for theALPS regions by positioning them together for 'summer in the mountains'. "Walking and leisure pursuits in an unspoilt natural environment are enjoying a renaissance. This is an area where we have good prospects. But in the summer we face much fiercer competition from non-Alpine destinations. We need to raise our profile together. By bringing Innsbruck and Lyons closer together, we will be able to overcome all these exciting challenges much more effectively."
theALPS 2012 takes place on 13 and 14 September in Innsbruck / Tyrol
. The assembled representatives will be working together and devoting most of their energies towards the responsible creation of added value for Alpine tourism that is both sustainable and successful.
For more information
Holger Gassler, Head of Marketing & PR
Tirol Werbung GmbH – Tirol Tourist Board, Austria
Tel: +43 664 805 32 641Holger.firstname.lastname@example.org