There are currently 27 Pearls (alpine member villages) stretching across six alpine nations – making it the largest tourist cooperation in the Alps. They are as follows:
In Austria: Hinterstoder, Mallnitz, Neukirchen, Werfenweng
In France: Les Gets and Pralognan-la-Vanoise
In Germany: Bad Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden
In Italy: Ceresole Reale, Chamois, Cogne, Deutschnofen, Forni di Sopra, Karneid-Steinegg, Limone Piemonte, Moena, Moos, Pragelato, Ratschings, Sauris, Tiers, Valdidentro, Villnöß and Welschnofen
In Switzerland: Arosa and Interlaken
In Slovenia: Bled
With around 10 million overnights recorded within the Pearls annually, the communities are eager to develop sustainable tourism with the focus on new traffic solutions to relieve the invariable congestion caused by seasonal holiday traffic, and have discovered they have more clout working together than individually.
The Alpine Pearls operate as a non-profit membership organization, with their headquarters in Austria. As well as trying to improve basic mobility (journey times, mobility in the region and mobility in the Pearls), they also work together on fun mobility (including the ‘Alpine Flyer’ and Swiss electric bike), and the promotion of Alpine folklore, culture and cuisine.
The Alpine Pearls not only have mutual trans-national partnerships with each other (with joint marketing and media resources), but they also foster strong relationships with national and transnational partners, including German, Swiss and Austrian national train services, Friends of the Earth, the Alpine Convention, and industry partners such as tour operator Ameropa. These partnerships are all geared towards providing sustainable transport solutions as packaged holiday offers.
Initiatives such as the Pearls’ participation in European Car Free Day (taking place this year on 22 September) have all helped to increase awareness of sustainable mobility and climate protection in the Alps.
Last season, the Alpine Pearls won the Tourism for Tomorrow ‘Destination Stewardship’ award, presented by the World Travel & Tourism Council, for best practice in sustainable tourism.
On receiving the award, the Alpine Pearls’ president, Dr Peter Brandauer remarked: “It is a great honour for all Alpine Pearl members and it fills us with pride being the winner of this award. For me personally, it is groundbreaking that our activities in the European Alps, focusing on soft mobility and sustainability, are of interest on a worldwide scale.”