Rhaetian Railway/RhB – Bernina Express – The Bernina Express crosses the world-famous Landwasser Viaduct.
Picture credit: Rhaetische Bahn / Andrea Badrutt

Switzerland is much liked and well known as a country and destination which offers spectacular natural landscapes and alpine experiences. Complementing our series of interviews with Swiss sustainable tourism champions, this time we take a closer look at Parc Ela, among Switzerland’s most pristine and largest regional nature parks, with rich cultural heritage. Having been created only recently, Destination Parc Ela in Eastern Switzerland’s canton of Grisons (Graubünden), is firmly committed to promoting sustainable tourism and responsible travel.

Introducing Parc Ela

Before we hear from the DMO’s General Manager about how Parc Ela approaches sustainability, join us on a virtual tour around this Swiss alpine region:

During our on site visit of Parc Ela in summer 2019 we stayed at Kesch Alpine Hut, where Reto Barblan gave us a warm welcome.

We also enjoyed a tranquil breakfast at the family-friendly Hotel Garni Albula in Bergün, sat down with Christoph Steiner, manager of the historic hotel Kurhaus Bergün, and admired the spectacular views of the UNESCO World Heritage Albula line – courtesy of Rhaetian Railway.


How Parc Ela approaches destination sustainability

We invited Dieter Müller, managing director of Parc Ela DMO, to tell us about the destination’s sustainable tourism strategies, challenges, and ambitions. In the interview he shares how the region’s residents and businesses are involved in steering Parc Ela to be a poster destination that is firmly committed to responsible tourism – something which is only possible when DMOs, farmers, hoteliers, and local schools cooperate.

Here a few key points:

  • The “Parc Ela-Partner” program and quality label gives participating businesses exposure and serves as a reference for visitors seeking sustainability-minded accommodation or travel experiences.
  • The “Destination Natur” initiative promotes sustainable mobility and slow tourism in all parks of the Graubünden region, by encouraging visitors to discover Swiss scenic beauty in an environmentally friendly way by using public transport, especially the famous red trains of the Rhaetian Railway and the yellow PostBuses.
  • Parc Ela, in collaboration with Rhaetian Railways, is creating a series of touristic products centered around the iconic Landwasser viaduct. The objective is to boost the local economy by steering visitors to this region.
  • Parc Ela DMO supports ela energiewelt, an NGO with the aim to promote renewable energies and energy efficiency, involving energy suppliers, construction companies, educational institutions, municipalities and the park management.

Our thanks to Parc Ela DMO and Rhaetian Railways for supporting our Parc Ela visit and report on its sustainable tourism strategy and champions.