Vorarlberg tourism innovations, 2011

Vorarlberg Tourist Board awards for innovative tourism projects:
a special prize for “sustainability” goes to Kongresskultur Bregenz

At the Vorarlberg Tourism Forum, the Vorarlberg State Tourist Board awarded prizes for innovative tourism projects. Christian Schützinger and federal state minister Karlheinz Rüdisser presented two main prizes to “berge hören”, a collaborative project by Bludenz Kultur and Alpenregion Bludenz Tourismus GmbH, and to the private initiative “Frau Kaufmann kocht”. Two recognition awards went to Hotel Schwanen in Bizau and Hotel Krone in Au. A special prize for “sustainability” was awarded to Kongresskultur Bregenz.
The annually organized competition awards prizes for projects which are outstanding from the point of view of the 2010+ tourism development plan for the region and exemplify the values and qualities of the Vorarlberg tourism brand. The awards are given in recognition of the project originators’ commitment and it is hoped that the annual selection of outstanding projects will send out a clear signal within the region.

Nature and art delight guests

The hiking trail project “berge.hören”, which won a main prize, is a joint initiative of Bludenz Kultur gGmbH and Alpenregion Bludenz Tourismus GmbH. In cooperation with Walserherbst, BergAktiv and alpine hut operators, cultural hikes were arranged with artists in August and September 2010. Hike participants could hear music at various spots, discover landscapes and get to know artists. All the hikes were fully booked. “An all-round experience for the eyes, ears and taste buds – and an original art/tourism project in the countryside, made possible by an exemplary collaboration between cultural event organizers and tourism agencies,” the jury declared.

Cooking school for foodies

The other main prize was awarded to the small business owner Karin Kaufmann, who has opened a cooking school in the former guesthouse Engel in Egg. The project – named “Frau Kaufmann kocht” (“Mrs Kaufmann cooks”) – is targeted at private individuals, businesses and institutions. The school offers classes in “everyday cooking”, “cooking in a team” and “cooking on holiday”, the latter exclusively for the guests of Hotel Post in Bezau. “In Vorarlberg there are plenty of cookery courses that enthusiastic cooks hold in their kitchens. But an actual cookery school that teaches the skills and the flavours of regional cuisine – what’s more in the special ambience of a renovated, 300 year old inn – that’s new in Vorarlberg”, the jury stated in justifying its decision.

Dynamic further development

The jury presented a recognition award to Hotel Schwanen in Bizau for the “well considered and systematically implemented transformation of a country inn into a hotel offering regional, high-level cuisine for the health-conscious. The challenge in a highly developed tourism region like Vorarlberg lay not only in the restoration and refurbishment of existing buildings, but also in the dynamic further development of existing businesses, the jury said. “With the last stage of the conversion of Hotel Schwanen, the positioning of the business in terms of regional high quality is impressively matched in terms of architectural and energy-efficient design.”

Culture programme becomes export hit

A recognition prize was likewise awarded to Hotel Krone in Au for its highly unusual and successful customer loyalty programme, which also conveys something of local culture. Every week, proprietor Walter Lingg takes his guests on a stroll through the village, where he explains regional history, agriculture, handicrafts and energy-efficient building methods. Finally in the parish church he tells them about the Baroque architects. The programme has even become a successful export, with Walter Lingg paying a visit to places where his guests come from and where Baroque architects from the Bregenz Forest built impressive church buildings – in Alsace and the Black Forest, for example. There the guests are invited to an organ concert and tour of the church. Hotel Krone now receives invitations from various regions to organize concerts there too.
At Bregenz Festival House sustainability plays a central role
The special prize goes to Kongresskultur Bregenz for its commitment to implementing sustainable thinking and action as a pillar of regional value creation in the field of cultural and congress tourism. Kongresskultur Bregenz is one of the first convention centres in Austria to be awarded the eco-label “Green Meetings & Green Events” by the Austrian ministry of the environment. The label is a seal certifying CO2 reduction, environmentally friendly accommodation, environmentally harmless transit to the venue, the use of organic products as well as environmentally friendly material and waste management. Bregenz Festival House can now host certified Green Meetings itself and also offer its customers Green Meetings. This means that organizations that plan an event at Bregenz Festival House also make a clear contribution to sustainability.

Prize winners

Main prizes (€2,000 each plus Innovation Award)

  • Bludenz Kultur gGmbH and Destination Alpenregion Bludenz for the project “berge.hören”
  • Karin Kaufmann for the project “Frau Kaufmann kocht”
    Recognition prizes
  • Hotel Schwanen in Bizau, for dynamic further development
  • Hotel Krone in Au, for culture and customer loyalty programmes

One special prize for “sustainability”:

  • Bregenz Festival House, for sustainable thinking and acting

Jury members

Beate Fritsch, Junges Gastgewerbe
Klaus Allgäuer, Bludenz Tourist Office
Astrid Keckeis, Economy Department of the Federal State of Vorarlberg
Willi Sieber, Austrian Institute of Ecology, Bregenz office
Dietlind Castor, journalist
Brigitte Plemel, head of marketing at Vorarlberg State Tourist Board

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