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Sustainability and Inclusivity | How Switzerland Leads The Way On Adventure’s Biggest Issues

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We headed to Switzerland to have a 'Swisstainable' and '100% Women' kind of adventure

It’s no secret that, here at Mpora, we love Switzerland. We love looking at photos of Switzerland, we love watching videos filmed in Switzerland, and, most of all, we love visiting Switzerland (and doing a bit of the filming and photography ourselves while we’re there to be honest). There’s just something about those mountains, the fact you can have a very different adventure every single day while visiting the country, and also… er… did we mention the mountains? Yes, when it comes to Switzerland, we’re big fans (the biggest, in fact).

Last summer, invited by our always welcoming friends based out there, we headed to Switzerland with GB Olympic snowboarding medallist Jenny Jones and television presenter, cookery expert, and YouTube personality Hersha Patel to make the most of the country’s unbelievably good outdoor offering. It was a real ‘carpe diem’, you only live once, type of trip and we unsurprisingly had an absolute blast.

There was though, it’s important to point out, more to our trip than simply enjoying ourselves. We’d heard that the key players within the country’s tourism sector were doing a lot of good work from a sustainability point of view, and also a female empowerment perspective as well. More adventures curated by women for women, in the name of inclusivity, served up with an environmentally-focused green thread running through the heart of them. With the help of Jenny and Hersha, we wanted to see if the country’s ‘100% Women‘ and ‘Swisstainable‘ marketing initiatives held up well to closer scrutiny.

You’ll be able to see for yourself, in our film from the trip, how we got on there but if you’re more of a ‘reading words on the screen’ type of person here’s the key things you need to know about sustainable travel and female-first adventure in Switzerland.

How is travel in Switzerland more sustainable?

The Swisstainable concept (yes, well spotted, it’s a merging of Swiss and sustainable) is about bringing in a new approach to the way people travel. It’s about considering not only our journey to a destination (which is important of course), but also remembering to keep our finger on the pulse while we’re there and considering how we interact with a place as well. It’s about gaining a heightened appreciation of the natural world through first hand experiences, sampling authentic local culture, consuming regional products and staying for longer so that you can delve deeper and justify the journey.

From an environmental perspective, Switzerland not only holds its own but actively leads the way in a number of areas. Home to one of the most closely-knit, and beautiful (let’s face it), rail networks in the world, the country are champions of recycling and have some of the world’s highest quality air and water.

Public Transport

Every single day in Switzerland, 9,000 trains travel along the country’s 3,000-kilometre-long SBB network. Even small and remote locations here can be easily reached by public transport, meaning you can leave the rental SUV in the garage. SBB sells an impressive 3,000,000 travel cards every year.

Water

Switzerland has roughly 1,500 lakes, and openly invites guests to swim in the middle of its cities (a rarity in the modern world). As well as countless beautifully maintained lakes, you’ll also find the sources to some famous rivers including the Rhine and the Rhône.

Conservation

Combined, 19 Swiss parks make up more than one eighth of the country’s landmass. The Swiss Forest Act has, for the last 125 years, ensured that 30% of Switzerland stays forested. What’s maybe even more impressive is that this very good number is now rising.

Air

The rejuvenating effect of Switzerland’s good quality mountain air is well documented. The country maintains a willingness to look after its air quality in the big outdoors, making it a more sustainable travel destination as we collectively – as a planet – move forward into an uncertain future.

Food

Switzerland and organic products goes together like (organic) peas and (organic) carrots. The country consume more organic products per capital than their international counterpart, and their retail outlets have been leading the international sustainability rankings for years.

Recycling

When it comes to recycling, Switzerland really doesn’t muck about. They are one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to recycling and waste management, with an incredibly impressive 90% of PET bottles being put to new use. Nice.

Why is Switzerland a top destination for adventurous women?

Switzerland is a pretty good destination for everyone, of course. But for women who are all about the outdoors, and looking to live life to the fullest, it’s perfection sprinkled with a little bit of ‘no, seriously, this is perfect’ flavouring. Incredibly safe, environmentally friendly, and with a huge amount of variety packed into a small area it arguably doesn’t get better than Europe’s accessible Alpine paradise. It’s easy to get around here, the locals are famous for their hospitality and with the extreme contrast in seasons there’s an opportunity to organise two very different adventures within the space of a year.

In the space of our fortnight-long visit, we packed in a wild amount of activities. How does hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, via ferrata and yoga all within one trip sound? Sounds alright, doesn’t it? Well, we did all that and much, much, more. It was, it’s no exaggeration to say, an absolute all-timer.

This summer, the 100% Women initiative in Switzerland is getting taken to bold new heights. Plans are currently afoot for the setting of a world record for the longest all-female rope team, with women set to come from across the globe to collectively climb the 4,207m Allalinhorn, near Saas-Fee, in June. Head to the My Switzerland website to find about more the 100% Women World Record attempt.

“The country is bursting with unique outdoor experiences where women lead the way”

Women looking to get out of their comfort zone, and learn something new on their adventure in Switzerland this year, might like to book themselves on something like this fundamentals of rock and ice course. Led by a female guide, this course is exclusively for women (no ‘mansplaining’ in sight). It includes rock and ice training around the Furka Pass as well as daytime tours of the region, and is an ideal way to build up your confidence in Alpine terrain. When it comes to Switzerland, this offering isn’t a rare one-off either. From trail yoga experiences to guided via ferrata tours, and much more in between, the country is bursting with unique outdoor experiences where women lead the way.

With more and more adventure-loving women discovering for themselves what the Swiss Alps has to offer, and writing their own adventure-filled narratives while they’re there, there’s arguably never been a better time to visit this incredible country. What are you waiting for?


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Head here for more information on sustainable travel in Switzerland.

Head here for more on 100% Women from Switzerland Tourism

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How To Get There

SWISS International Airlines connects Switzerland with the world via Zurich and Geneva. Serving up a typically Swiss in-flight experience, it’s a great way of getting to know the country before you’ve even touched down. The new SWISS Premium Economy travel class is worth a look, by the way. You’ll arrive feeling well-rested.

From a sustainable travel point of view, SWISS are doing some good work. They’re currently pursuing a comprehensive environmental strategy, and are making great efforts to minimise their business and operations’ climate impact. Investments are being made in fuel-efficient aircraft and engine technologies, as a way of rapidly bringing down CO2 emissions from flight operations. The company has also committed to the climate goals of halving its 2019 net carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and making its operations entirely carbon-neutral by 2050. SWISS passengers can help contribute to a more sustainable future by choosing to offset their CO₂ emissions here: swiss.compensaid.com

SWISS offers more than 160 weekly flights from London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London Gatwick (seasonal) to Zurich or Geneva. One-way fares start from £76 to Zurich and from £54 to Geneva, and include all taxes, fees and surcharges, one piece of checked luggage weighing up to 23kg and one piece of hand luggage. The airline’s also happy to transport your first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance subject to availability (excluding hand luggage only fares).

For more information, visit swiss.com or call 0345 601 0956.

For more on the environmental responsibility of SWISS, head to their website.

Credit: Giles Dean

How To Get Around While In Switzerland

Swiss Travel System provides a range of exclusive travel passes and tickets for visitors from abroad.

The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the Swiss Travel System rail, bus and boat network. This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in around 90 towns and cities, and includes the Swiss Museum Pass, which allows you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Prices start from £186 for a three-day second-class ticket. Find out exactly what the Swiss Travel Pass covers here: All benefits and services: mystsnet.com/areaofvalidity

Talk to a Swiss rail specialist at Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit switzerlandtravelcentre.com

For more on climate-friendly travelling in Switzerland: sbb.ch/sustainabletravel

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