Sustainable traveling with

12. Nov. 2019

Walking from one place to the next. Mostly on old paths, which are laid out with skill and care and thus form a harmonious symbiosis with the landscape around. So far so good! But is this enough to make travel truly sustainable? We at do more. Let us convince you!

© Trail Angels

Walking from one place to another. Mostly on old paths, which have been skilfully laid out and thus form a harmonious symbiosis with the surrounding landscape. Without rising above nature like the uncontrolled growth of other tourist infrastructures. And this is probably why they have been in existence for many generations. Seen in this light, long-distance hiking is THE sustainable form of travel in itself. An attribute that can be extended to stage cycling and ski touring with a few minor limitations.
So far so good! But is this enough to make travel really sustainable? And to contribute to making the world a little bit better with our trails? We do more at Let us convince you!

Panoramaweg Südalpen Panorama am Hochplateau

Not much is necessary to be a project with a worldwide dimension: on this narrow, ancient path in the Bhote Koshi Valley, near Mount Everest, is part of the magnificent “Great Himalayan Trail”. © Trail Angels

The three elements of sustainability

Nothing is as beautiful as the magic of the beginning! As a student in the late eighties of the last century, I was influenced by people like Jost Krippendorf, who showed the effects of an untamed, “landscape eating” tourism. After that, the many initiatives of a “soft tourism” have been initiated. Today, almost 30 years later, this magic has faded away, because the concept of an often externally managed, ecologically oriented tourism has largely failed. A chair cannot just stand on one leg (ecology), at least three are required. But how do we at attempt to bring the three elements of sustainability to life in our trail projects?

Panoramaweg Südalpen Panorama am Hochplateau

Without economic viability, no tourism product will survive in the long term – thus be sustainable. On the Alpe-Adria-Trail this has been impressively successful: about 300 partner companies are now part of the participative business model! © Gerdl/Kärnten Werbung

Economical sustainability

Without economic ability, tourism products cannot survive in the long term. And therefore, they are not sustainable! Trails such as long-distance hiking trails require a particularly sensitive balance for fair travel. Our trail products are backed by a large number of different regional partners, such as accommodation providers, mobility service providers, guides, outdoor outfitters and many others. Trails are therefore a prime example of a participatory business model in which a large circle of partners can participate along the route. And not just ONE big player. More than 300 (!) partner contracts with prove that the economic sustainability of trails is not a vision, but a daily reality.

Panoramaweg Südalpen Panorama am Hochplateau
Social sustainability

“Travelling is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” This beautiful quote from Mark Twain applies to no other form of travel as aptly as long-distance hiking. Especially since our trails support the small, regional structures, you are “close to the life” of the travelers. There are countless stories about unforgettable encounters, the journey of lasting friendships and completely new perspectives that have opened for our customers during the journey. Perspectives that can also be “addictive”, because more than 70% of our guests return on the Alpe-Adria-Trail to embark at least a second time on this very special journey “close to life”.

Ökologische Nachhaltigkeit

Which brings us back to the beginning of this blog – to environmental protection and nature conservation in tourism. And the most prominent element of the sustainability model for travel. Our contribution? For example, we specifically promote offers with environmentally friendly transport, such as the “Green Spirit” badge. Already 35% of our customers travel to the local destinations (Central Europe) by train. In addition, we passionately try to integrate local, and therefore climate-friendly cuisine along the trails into our products (see the “Regional half-board” check box in the “Live Check”). And of particular importance to us is the close partnership with and careful valorisation of protected areas and support for species conservation projects. The Luchs Trail with a total of four internationally recognized protected areas and the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of our showcase projects.

A groundbreaking partnership between nature conservation and sustainable tourism is being developed with the transnational Amazon of Europe Bike Trail. To preserve breathtaking landscapes like the Kopacki Rit! © Goran Safarek

Our sustainable flagship projects

There is never enough to do in the area of sustainability! That is why we have selected two flagship projects, about which we will report here frequently. One is the “Amazon of Europe Bike Trail”, an INTERREG project of the “Danube Transnational Programme”. This long-distance bike trail will lead through the world’s first biosphere park which covers five countries (Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia) and provides access to a marvellous river landscape along the Mur, Drau and Danube rivers. New and one of a kind is also the valorization program for nature conservation in cooperation with the WWF!

On the other hand, with the “Fair Trails for the Himalayas” we want to develop and implement a new, sustainable form of trekking in Nepal, Bhutan and India. The ” Snow Leopard Trail ” in the Nepalese Himalayas is currently being created as the first “Fair Trail” with our partners ENNOVENT and Snow Leopard Conservancy and will soon be bookable on this portal. A perfect reason to visit us again soon!

Tips: Check out our platform BookYourTrail®  for our Green Spirit offers with environmentally friendly arrivals.


Günter Mussnig

The graduate geographer is one of the founders and managing directors of Trail Angels, which is responsible for the web platform As a trekking & outdoor freak, he is one of the fathers of the Alpe-Adria Trail and has been exploring the Nepalese Himalayas for more than 25 years.

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