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The European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI), sustainability campus of the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT), received the "Silver" seal in the EU-wide "Bicycle Friendly Employer" certification. This makes ECRI the second campus in the whole of Bavaria to boast such a certification.
As a sustainability campus, ECRI has for years relied on various measures to make cycling to work more attractive. Last year, already existing offers, such as the "Bike Station", were expanded and extended by a whole concept. Under the direction of the university's sustainability officer, Prof. Dr. Michael Laar, and his research assistant, Laura Hoffmann, staff bicycles and sanitary facilities for cycling employees were introduced and a cycling competition was held. The two were supported by ECRI's sustainability lab. The package of measures was so well received by the ADFC, the German Bicycle Club, that it awarded the university the "Silver" seal of approval in the EU-wide "Bicycle-Friendly Employer" certification process after only nine months instead of the usual two to three years. Petra Husemann-Roew, regional manager at the ADFC national association, says: "The university supports employees who use bicycles to get to work with many different measures. This brings many advantages: The employer can thus score points in company health, environmental and mobility management."
The certification and the measures that go along with it primarily benefit the university's employees. Regular exercise improves health, increases motivation, reduces the carbon footprint and is easy on the wallet. In future, the experiences at ECRI will also be used at other DIT locations to create incentives to cycle to work.
The INTERREG-funded BeyondSnow project is an Alpine-wide initiative involving 13 partners. One of them is the European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI) of the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT). The aim of BeyondSnow is to find new solutions for the future challenges of small and medium-sized winter tourism regions. Because decreasing snow reliability and changing consumer behaviour require innovative ideas. One of the ten pilot regions in the Alpine region is the ski area on the Großer Arber.
Climate change is expected to have an impact on Alpine winter tourism at low or medium altitudes. The duration of closed snow cover in the last century has shortened by more than a month. At higher altitudes with high snow reliability, which includes the Großer Arber, an increased rush of skiers can therefore be expected in the future. The winter seasons will become shorter, the costs for the necessary infrastructures to cover the ongoing operations will become more challenging. The viability of winter sports resorts is under great pressure and this may contribute to migration from mountain regions. The winter sports resorts in the Bavarian Forest are also affected by the impacts of climate change. The pilot region around the Großer Arber selected by Beyondsnow is analysed as representative of the Bavarian Forest. In addition, ideas and strategies will be developed on site together with the mountain railway, the districts, the neighbouring communities, the tourism association and local stakeholders.
The BeyondSnow project will work with a total of ten pilot regions throughout the Alpine region to develop instruments to strategically address the challenges of climate change. "The current situation in our mountains," says Andrea Omizzolo of Eurac Research, lead partner of BeyondSnow, "shows the critical state of many winter tourism destinations. The lack of snow is causing great difficulties for the service providers. BeyondSnow aims to make our Alpine-wide selected pilot regions more resilient to climate change. The dependency on snow is to be reduced, visitor management in heavily frequented ski areas optimised and alternatives for sustainable tourism developed. This can be a building block for reducing the threat of migration from rural regions. Exemplary solutions that are jointly developed in the course of BeyondSnow on the Großer Arber can also be useful for many other snow tourism destinations in the Bavarian Forest and in the entire Alpine region".
The BeyondSnow project now has three years to do this. Climate adaptation strategies will be designed in the pilot regions with broad participation of service providers and interested parties. The solutions will focus on the needs of the regional service providers as well as on environmental concerns. Subsequently, BeyondSnow will develop proposals for policy guidelines to strengthen resilience in the Alpine Space. For the first time, a digital tool will be used to provide data-driven solutions and concrete proposals, enabling Alpine tourism regions to adapt and revitalise their tourism offer also taking into account environmental change. This Resilience Decision Making Digital Tool will generate recommendations for the transition to sustainable tourism models and help to preserve valuable regional resources.
BeyondSnow is an INTERREG Alpine Space project co-funded by the European Union. It brings together public and private institutions and experts from the six Alpine countries Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, who will jointly develop sustainable development paths, transition processes and feasible solutions for winter tourism destinations. Further details on the project can be found at https://www.alpine-space.eu/project/beyondsnow.
The International Tourism Exchange ITB is finally back after the pandemic and the European Campus is right in the middle of it. A delegation from Pfarrkirchen was also present in Berlin, where tourism professionals and important players in the global travel industry met from 7 to 9 March. Naturally with a special focus on the topics of health and medical tourism.
"The ITB is an excellent opportunity to establish contact between our students and representatives of leading European associations and companies in health and medical tourism," explains the Dean of ECRI and also Pfarrkirchen delegation leader in the capital, Prof. Dr. Christian Steckenbauer. The tourism industry suffers particularly from the shortage of skilled workers, and that sector, which is specifically dedicated to health, is no exception. "Qualified employees are desperately sought after," says Steckenbauer. As a networking event, ITB is a perfect opportunity for the international students at ECRI to make valuable personal contacts for their future careers. In addition, the young people were able to get a taste of the trade fair at the stand of the European Spas Association (ESPA) and actively experience how this tourism trade fair, after all the largest of its kind in the world, is run. Up close, in front of and behind the scenes. The "get-together" at the ESPA Medical & Health Tourism Pavilion was a great experience.