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MA Eco-Social Design: Project 2 by Lena Daur, Elizabeth Maldari, Ute Peppersack | SS 2021

Perspectives in Tourism. Current movements and sustainable opportunities for Obervinschgau

This guidebook is an anthology of research, interviews, and strategies for a new, wholistic tourism structure. We developed it with the Citizen's Cooperative of Obervinschgau, but believe our transformative and adaptable ideas can be implemented anywhere people yearn to see a resilient and caring future where sustainable tourism becomes the norm and not a niche.

"We should not strive for a "back to normal", but work towards a "better new normal" Daria Habicher (Resident of Obervinschgau)

We wrote a book to inspire a future of sustainable tourism. With the aim to provide others with the tools and knowledge needed to realize a future where travel and leisure do not depend on the exploitation of other humans or the hosting ecology.

According to anthropologist Noel B. Salazar, tourism has "been modeled after anthropological tours & ethnographic studies." This has fostered an economy which relies on the continuous cultural consumption by tourists and cares little for ecological and social concerns of locals; human and other-than.

The ideas presented in this booklet show how to care for those concerns while taking into account the trends and movements currently shaping the tourism economy in South Tyrol. Our notions are grounded in participation and contribution from locals and tourists who wish to be part of the bigger picture of sustainability worldwide. It would not have been possible without the guidance of our partner, Armin Bernhard and rest of the Citizen’s Cooperative of Obervinschgau. Thanks to them, we were able to anchor our findings to a radical, functioning economic structure.


„If you want to change the system, you need to become a player in the field.“  (Armin Bernhard from the BGO) A statement that proved the courageous attitude of the BGO right from the beginning and accompanied us until the end of the semester.

The Courage of Obervinschgau
Between the field research and visits to the various members of the BGO, from organic farms and alpine dairies, we got to know the BGO as an association. How a community bands together to do things differently puts in motion local transformation. In many areas, such as agriculture and food production, the BGO is already a player in the field. We joined them in their next step to transform the controversial tourism sector in South Tyrol. Their mission being to show how tourism can work in an alternative way, sustainably and appreciative for what is already there. 

Tourism in a cultural context
To understand the context of the tourism sector, we started with literature research, both on the anthropological and cultural context, as well as a web research on tourism before Corona in the S.T. region. In order to get an overview of the large field of tourism and to gain personal insights outside of our literature research, we conducted interviews with 12 experts, both within South Tyrol and from the outside. It was especially important to us to capture nuances and opinions. We found it significant that sustainable development is both desired and promoted by restaurateurs and hoteliers despite the fact that the sector is at its lowest point economically at this time due to Corona.

While we can‘t know what the future will hold, taking a collective inventory on the movements in this region, we can consider the necessary steps to shape a transformative plan within the tourism sector. Using our interviews as a starting point, we took a 360 degree look at different movements happening in gastronomy and tourism which could shed insight towards understanding opportunities for all actors in the tourism sector as we move forward, post-corona. We explored the movements of resonance and slow tourism in smaller destinations, same as different case-studys of open-calls about voluntourism-offers that caught our interest. Staycation and Voluntourism seemed to become very promising trends for Obervinschgau, Post-Corona.

Co-designing workshop with the Citizen’s Cooperative
In order to exchange ideas and directions, but also to include the BGO more in depth into our process, we organized a participatory workshop together with three members of the BGO and one interested local resident. The workshop dealt with the future of tourism in Upper Vinschgau and the role of the BGO and we developed different creative method to get as many insights as possible, through which tangible ideas should emerge. The workshop made clear to us above all: the BGO wants to create a place of encounters, wants to be an inspiration to others and appreciates what is there. (wir schätzen das was da ist - BGO motto)


Book and web design for transforming tourism
Together with Armin, we decided to democratize our co-working process by creating an open source guidebook for Perspectives in Tourism. We collected all ideas from the past months on our Miro board and went through a last intensive speculative concept brainstorming. Therefor we created an interactive method within the course of Social Interaction Design, called Dream Journey. It invites participants to a meditative journey in which they can envision their future sustainable holiday in South Tyrol hanging in public space.

We put down all our research and over 20 suggestions and ideas on 140 pages: Perspectives of Tourism - Current movements and sustainable opportunities for Upper Vinschgau.

To make a more concrete proposal specifically for the BGO, we also made a recommendation in the form of a website proposal. Within this, we visually implemented our favored concepts and incorporated them into the Website: A community calendar, a Voluntourism structure and the communication of the BGO philosophy in regard to tourism.




Lena Daur, Elizabeth Maldari, Ute Peppersack

Teaching Team:
David Calas (Object–Spaces–Services)
Kris Krois (Communication–Interaction–Services)
Secil Ugur Yavuz (Design Research)
Marie Beuthel (Social Interaction Design)

Citizen’s Cooperative of Obervinschgau

Supporters  & Stakeholders:
Armin Bernhard