Healing Alps: Tourism based on natural health resources for the development of Alpine regions

Project summary

Tourism is a major engine for job creation and a driving force for economic growth and development in the Alpine programme area. Yet alpine tourism is currently experiencing challenges such as climate change and is often only focussed on specific regions. Global trends such as a thirst for nature-based experiences and increased health consciousness hold considerable opportunities for developing innovative nature-based health tourism value chains. To fulfil this potential, the project will provide policy-makers, regional developers, Alpine regions and SMEs access to innovation knowledge and to implementation tools.

Building on the ARPAF project HEALPS, the aim is to improve framework conditions for utilising Alpine natural health resources by developing health tourism products and service chains. Lessons learnt from existing innovative, but fragmented cases will be elevated to a transnational level. Supported by the combination of the latest research results with digital solutions, the nature-based health tourism approach will be tested in pilot regions and the experiences then translated into relevant tools for Alpine regional development. By engaging quadruple helix stakeholders, cross fertilisation between tourism, health and other relevant sectors and co-learning is stimulated at transnational level. This shared knowledge at various scales facilitates framework conditions for value generation based on location-bound Alpine assets. Recommendations for different policy levels as well as guidelines & implementation toolkits for product and service chain development reflect the purpose of a broad implementation of hands-on knowledge for the stimulation of SME- and destination driven innovation. Two international conferences on Alpine health tourism will allow transnational & transversal knowledge transfer from academia to regions and SMEs.