"Best Austrian" Promotes Sustainable Travel

The Best Austrian Summer Mountain Railways quality seal is an initiative of the Cable Car Association (Austrian Chamber of Commerce). The seal of quality brings together the experts and pioneers of domestic summer mountain tourism and now has 77 members with 94 themed mountains. The seal of quality is an important decision-making criterion when choosing a destination, especially for summer vacationers who are not experienced in the mountains. Only companies that meet at least 160 quality criteria become members of the Best Austrian Summer Mountain Railways. Specializing in five theme worlds – adventure, family, panorama & nature experience, enjoyment, art & culture – members must pass recertification every three years.

8 out of 10 of the Best Austrian summer mountain lifts can be easily reached by public - 70 percent are satisfied with the season so far.

The best Austrian summer mountain railways have been a pioneer in domestic summer mountain tourism for more than 20 years. They see it as their responsibility to create sustainable natural mountain experiences and to provide their guests with the best possible information about sustainability on the way to and on the mountain. This is well received by the guests of the summer mountain railways: this season, the number of visitors to the mountain railways has increased by up to 15 percent in some cases.

Global tourism causes eight to ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. With regard to climate developments, the environmental balance of travel must be improved. Not only the choice of destination, but also the choice of means of travel and holiday behavior play an important role.

The best Austrian summer mountain railways are aware of these developments and are actively taking sustainable measures. The attractiveness for guests is increased through regular exchange and cooperation, for example in the area of ​​mobility through shared regional guest cards including free use of public transport. Car sharing offers, electromobility and combination tickets have also been standard at summer mountain railways for years.

“Sustainability is fundamentally nothing new for us. Ever since we were founded, the quality initiative of the Cable Car Association in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce has focused on varied mountain experiences that are in harmony with the needs of nature, the region and the guests. Sustainability criteria are also included in the certification process,” says Kornel Grundner, spokesman for the best Austrian summer mountain railways. "In recent years, the desire of our guests, employees or partners has become increasingly noticeable that we make this sustainability even more visible and bring it in front of the curtain. With the numerous sustainability initiatives, we enable you to have unforgettable nature experiences in the unique Austrian mountains in a climate-friendly manner. We also make the path from the valley up to the summit climate-friendly. Even the so-called last mile presents no stumbling block.”

The most recent flash survey among the 77 member companies shows that over 80 percent of the best Austrian summer mountain railways can be easily reached on foot in 5 to 10 minutes from a public transport station.

In Austria, many travel destinations can be reached by train or bus. The reason for this is mainly cooperation with long-distance, local and regional public transport. Among the best Austrian summer mountain railways, 56.8 percent are taking concrete measures in the area of ​​climate-neutral mobility. Collaborations with public transport were entered into by 46.3 percent of the members surveyed, as the quick survey shows. Further collaboration projects are being planned.

A flagship project in Salzburg, for example, is the electric Loigom shuttle, which supplements the existing route network in Leogang with the on-demand service.

There are other attractive offers in cooperation with ÖBB Railtours, which includes numerous mountain railway summer offers.

“The best Austrian summer mountain railways try to make their offers more climate-friendly from season to season. The way to our mountains is also included. We want our guests to be able to travel climate-neutral from the front door to the summit,” confirms Grundner. "In the coming season we therefore want to push further cooperations."

The latest lightning survey among members confirms: the sustainable strategy is popular. Although the weather in July was mixed, the best Austrian summer mountain railways have had a good summer so far. Almost 70 percent of the mountain railways describe the season as satisfactory, if not very satisfactory. 78 percent have an increase in visitor numbers of up to 15 percent. When the weather is unstable, the use of the mountain railway is very popular. If a thunderstorm comes up, guests can quickly get back down to the valley with the mountain railways.

This is particularly important for families, the most common group of guests. In addition to parents with children, the best Austrian summer mountain railways were once again heavily visited by bikers. The mountain railways’ MTB offerings remain a magnet for visitors.

“The 2023 summer season has so far been positive for the best Austrian summer mountain railways despite the unstable weather. We are very satisfied with the development of guest numbers and our sustainable mountain experiences. We are looking forward to autumn with great confidence,” said Grundner. If the weather is good, the best Austrian summer mountain railways expect similar results at the end of the season as last year. “We are looking forward to a golden autumn, which is known to be the ideal time for a hiking or active holiday in the Austrian mountains,” concludes Grundner.


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