Outstanding in sustainability and accessibility
Kaunertal is the region of the famous “Gepatschferner” glacier, one of the highest and most spectacular glaciers in the Tyrol. It is also part of a nature park founded on the initiative of the local population. Since 2021 it includes 40% of the entire natural area of the region.
Culturally, Kaunertal has a distinctive identity, its own dialect, a rich history and characteristic traditions and customs. In addition, religion plays a central role in the social and cultural development of the village. All these traditions are maintained and customs are actively cultivated. The cultural heritage is collected in the Kaunertal Contemporary Witness Archive. It offers a unique visualisation and revaluation of the local traditions and identity of Kaunertal.
Before the development of tourism, the valley was characterised by small-scale agriculture. With the project “CLEAN ALPINE REGION”, Kaunertal faced the challenges of sustainable tourism with a special focus on climate change adaptation and environmental protection. Special projects to replace fossil fuels in heating and mobility are part of the valley’s efforts. At the initiative of the nature park, companies specialised in “nature park design” have been contracted since 2020 and offer long-term support. One of the main measures is a comprehensive ODS process with each of the companies. The main objective of the initiative is the generation of value in terms of employee well-being, regional products and climate-friendly management.
Kaunertal stands out for its commitment to accessibility for people with special needs. It has been a priority issue for many years and has been taken into account in all the village’s projects. The “Kaunertal mountain freedom” for people with reduced mobility has even been adopted by other initiatives such as the nature park and the tourism sector.
Kaunertal mountain freedom
This accessibility project was created by initiative of a local entrepreneur who then opened up the first barrier-free hotel in the alps. The initiative was taken up by the tourism association and other actors such as the nature park and it was extended to the entire region. Additionally to offers for wheelchair users, there are now offers for many different target groups like young families with strollers or elderly people with walkers.
Promotion of the agricultural roots
The village contributes to the preservation of the special identity and language of the locals. Agricultural traditions for instance, especially alpine farming, are of great cultural importance for the region. The people working in the area of alpine farming are supported by joint promotion projects (a cooperation of agriculture, nature park, municipality and tourism association).
Sustainable tourism development
Kaunertal applied for the CLEAN ALPINE REGION project and got funded. A program of measures with seven main topics was submitted and will be implemented in a period of less than two years. All measures are designed to support the region on its path to becoming a sustainable tourism destination. They address all three dimensions of sustainability. One of these measures is the assignment of a CLAR coordinator, a technical expert with a broad network in the field of climate protection and renewable energies.