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Adopting a conscious travel mindset without compromising on the quality of experiences exemplifies Geneva’s philosophy in further promoting sustainable tourism among its visitors. By championing creative awareness in providing greener alternatives to standard travel choices, whether visitors are looking for a casual adventure, wellness retreat or luxuriously indulgent stay within serene landscapes, Geneva’s ‘Swisstainable’ programme allows travellers to walk the route of nature and reconnect with what surrounds them and what matters the most, a life fully lived and aligned with nature.
The ‘Swisstainable’ programme is designed to recognise Swiss tourism operators and organisations, and provide visitors with a clear understanding of what to expect and look for at each experience they take part of, with three levels that explain where they are positioned in their sustainability journey:
Level 1: Committed – For organizations that have no prior certification but wish to further develop their sustainable practices
Level 2: Engaged – Where organizations at this level need to provide proof of measurements taken in any sustainability field to receive this level’s certification.
Level 3: Leading – for organizations holding a renowned sustainability certification which covers all aspects of sustainability and is subject to regular external sustainability audits.
One of Geneva’s successful initiatives committed to sustainability is GeniLac, an innovative thermal solution that uses Geneva’s Lake water to cool and heat the buildings of international organizations and those located at the Genève Lac Nations, in addition to several luxury hotels such as Mandarin Oriental Geneva, further incorporating sustainability in tourism establishments to align with conscious travellers’ plans without compromising on their favourite accommodation choices. This project has helped in reducing 80% of CO² emissions of these buildings with an 80% savings in electricity consumption. This initiative and others place Geneva at the Level 2 of the ‘Swisstainable’ programme.
Many Geneva experiences as well have been joining the ‘Swisstainable’ program. E-TukTuk, a service by Taxibike, which has received the ‘Swisstainable’ level 1, represents an out-of-the-box transportation service merged with diverse culinary experiences, serving guests some of the most delicious international dishes while on the go. The Taxibikes run on electric energy, making them an environmentally friendly way of discovering Geneva as they drive visitors through lush greenery by the lake and the old town.
Experiencing the local culture
The ‘Swisstainable’ programme aims to open the doors to more sustainable and ecological practices, where travel is focused around enjoying nature up close and personal, experiencing the local culture through authentic venues, delve into the local produce and extend the stay to allow more flexibility into adopting sustainable approaches.
Aligning visitors with the programme’s goals, ‘Swisstainable’ shares a list of guidelines in how to pack, travel and stay as you visit Geneva and other Swiss cities, some of these best practices include:
Less is more when packing, if you’re travelling with a group, consider sharing suitcases to reduce the number of your luggage.
If you’re travelling from a far place, opt for direct flights with carriers that invest in resource-efficient fleets.
Stay longer and reduce your negative impact on the environment, this also allows you to discover lesser-known places and experiences.
Discover Geneva outside high season, this helps create a more balanced tourist impact while allows you to experience the different facets of the city through different seasons.
Use public transportation, this minimises your carbon footprint and allows you to travel like the locals, enjoying a more authentic route.
Consider local offerings when you stay, eat and shop.
Mindful travel has been Geneva’s focus and intimate project, inspired by its passion to preserve its natural resources, while sharing them with likeminded visitors.