Engelbert Ruoss, Anđela Šormaz & Jürg Schwerzmann
A recently started project Arbostora Heritage Destination focusses on the creation of a sustainable tourism destination for the Arbostora mountain area with Morcote at its southern slope. The aim of the project is to take care of the delicate balance between heritage, physical and digital visits, and inhabitants and visitors within the area. Its objectives are to establish a heritage stewardship destination combining the three dimensions of governance and management – bottom-up, top-down, outside-in, to develop and introduce a sustainability incentive system, to introduce “digical” mobility offers, to interlink with the heritage destinations network, and to improve locals and visitors’ experience and awareness towards heritage. The Sustainability Incentive System is an extention of a loyalty program in which travelers and providers of tourism products and services are rewarded and thereby receive or create added value. These bonuses can be redeemed on the next trip to the same destination or to heritage destinations in the competence network. Alternatively, they can be donated for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage within the competence network.
During participatory processes that use Sustainable Development Implementation (SDI) method, the project defines Arbostora’s products and services, as well as their sustainability values. It uses digital media as a management tool in all travel phases (before, during and after) to adopt a balanced mobility of visitors. The final step is the creation of an Arbostora-card application that covers all tourism-related facilities and incentivizes stakeholders and visitors offering and choosing sustainable tourism and hospitality products and services. By interconnecting with similar heritage destinations, the visitors can profit from the bonus from sustainable offers for their future travels.
Arbostora is a half island surrounded by the Lake Ceresio and Lugano, encompassing the municipalities Morcote, Vico Morcote, Melide and Lugano and facing towards south to the Monte San Giorgio UNESCO World Heritage site. The village of Morcote, awarded as the most beautiful village in Switzerland, is inscribed in the Federal Inventory of Heritage Sites of national importance (ISOS) and protection of heritage sites.
Heritage destinations are particularly sensitive to changing visitor flows and increasingly suffer negative impacts from overtourism. The pandemic has led to a shift from real to virtual travel and correspondingly, an increase in digital processes. Future sustainable tourism has to consider the interwoven physical and digital environments and the changed “digical” mobility of people.
Engelbert Ruoss (1), Anđela Šormaz (1) & Jürg Schwerzmann (2)
(1) Università della Svizzera italiana, UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage sites
(2) Comune di Morcote