Alpbach Dorfansicht

Green Meetings: Guests value ecological commitment

The number of organizers who organize their conferences and congresses according to ecological criteria is growing. But how is this offer accepted by the participants? According to the Congress Centrum Alpbach (CCA) after several years of experience it is, "consistently positive".

The Tyrolean mountain village Alpbach has made a name for itself as a conference and conference venue. The flagship is, of course, the European Forum Alpbach (EFA), where year after year Nobel laureates, scientists, philosophers, economists and politicians from all over the world meet for an exchange of ideas. Every year, 4,000 guests enjoy the ambience of Tyrol's natural mountain scenery.

For some years, they can do this sustainably. For the first time in 2009, the event was deliberately organized in a sustainable way and it was finally certified as a "Green Meeting" with the Austrian Ecolabel in 2010 and 2011, which is also the aim of this year's conference from 16 August to 1 September.
The guests appreciate that very much. "In 2010 and 2011, the EFA participants were interviewed in detail. 94% noticed efforts during the event to protect the environment and to save resources, "reports CCA Managing Director Georg Hechenblaikner."The feedback has also shown us that some of our activities are not noticed. We still have a lot of information to do here. "

What is particularly appreciated in detail depends very much on the country of origin. While Austrian guests emphasize the regional and seasonal gastronomic offerings in particular, international visitors consider the waste management and the use of resources to be positive in the first place. "That certainly depends on the fact that we already take it for granted," says Hechenblaikner. "The topic of energy efficiency is especially important for the guests who are particularly interested in it."

The final test for Hechenblaikner is still the arrival and departure by public transport. "This decision is made by the participant himself. How it turns out depends very much on that, how attractive the offer is. Half price tickets of the ÖBB in combination with free shuttle services are well received, but also hit limits in the event budgets. "In addition aggravating is added that only a few of the Railjet high-performance trains of ÖBB in Wörgl and Jenbach stay. Guests therefore often have to change to Eurocity or Intercity trains, which will increase the journey by 30 to 45 minutes.

Despite these obstacles, Hechenblaikner is surprised how positively the offer is accepted. "At the European Forum Alpbach, the frequence of the shuttle buses was analyzed in detail and found that our guests here are much more satisfied than we are. And those who travel with their own car, likes to leave his vehicle and uses the public offer locally."

At first, the possibilities in the field of gastronomy were considered much more critical. "Of course, the organizers also organize supporting programs that guide the participants to the regional catering establishments. For events that are certified, according to the guidelines of the Austrian Ecolabel for Green Meetings, these companies must fulfill all specific criteria. At the European Forum Alpbach, we were also able to reach all relevant properties to offer at least one daily special that complies with the 'Green Meetings' guidelines. As a result, the skepticism of the organizers has fallen. The guests appreciate the interesting offer of regional and seasonal dishes anyway, as they are a matter of course for a "Green Meeting" and even see it as an attractive plus.