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Swiss Sustainability Forum: Sustainability in Swiss Tourism

31 Mar 2023, Lugano, Switzerland

Switzerland, Sustainability, Tourism
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Swiss Sustainability Forum has officially come to an end!

Thank you to our conference chairs, speakers, sponsors, partners, and all the attendees for making this a great meeting.
You can download an electronic Certificate of Attendance by accessing your dashboard on Please login with the same email you used to register to the conference. The certificate will be found under "My Certificates".
The recordings are available here on the conference website!

Welcome from the Chairs

As any other sphere of human activity, tourism needs to be sustainable, to ensure an equitable access to and enjoyment of resources to present and future generations. The very meaning of tourism is to discover new territories, experience tangible and intangible attractions, meet people and learn about their culture. If considered this way – instead of being driven by consumerism or yearning to collect many superficial experiences – tourism can be a means of peace and pacific coexistence, a catalyst of knowledge and mutual respect, it can help to fight against poverty and inequalities.

Sustainability in tourism is mainly considered with reference to behaviours and practices related to the environment, the economy and the society. An environmentally sustainable tourism is one that limits wastes and pollution, makes a balanced use of natural resources and respects the natural landscape. From an economic point of view, sustainability in tourism means that related activities do provide a (reasonable) profit hence not needing to rely on external resources, as well as that value for money for products and services is guaranteed. At the social level, sustainability means that tourists’ behaviors and practices need to be compliant with the values, habits and social norms of local communities and cultural groups. If one visits a city, it is important that s/he does not only know which are its most important monuments, but also that s/he becomes aware of the history behind them, of how citizens live, of which challenges they face. If one climbs up a mountain, besides respecting natural limits not to endanger his/her own life, s/he should admire its beauty respecting it and creating, this way, a sort of bound with the natural elements, which is made up of knowledge and appreciation. If one takes part in a local ritual or buys an artifact of traditional craftsmanship, s/he should acknowledge the specific values and beliefs attached to it.

Sustainability in tourism is linked to issues of authenticity, awareness, cultural respect, quality of products. It is such an important topic today in tourism, that several official tourism bodies have developed ad hoc strategies and launched dedicated campaigns to sensitize both tourists and service providers.

The Swiss Sustainability Forum 2023 will focus on global and local issues related to sustainability in tourism. It will gather scholars and practitioners to present research, practices and initiatives, so to provide a state-of-the art about the topic in the field, develop a shared comprehensive vision and inspire future actions.

Conference Secretariat:
Ms. Sara Ottolini
Ms. Charlotte Gardini

Conference Email:

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USI – Università della Svizzera Italiana

Lorenzo Cantoni graduated in Philosophy and holds a PhD in Education and Linguistics. He is full professor at USI - Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland), Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, where he is director of the Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication. His research interests are where communication, education and new media overlap, ranging from computer mediated communication to usability, from eLearning to eTourism and digital Fashion, from ICT4D to eGovernment. He is chair-holder of the UNESCO chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites, and board member of WHES - World Heritage Experience Switzerland. He is USI's Deputy Rector and Pro-rector for Education and Students' experience. He is director of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication and director of the Master in International Tourism. He has been President of IFITT - International Federation for IT in Travel and Tourism (2014-January 2018).

USI – Università della Svizzera Italiana

Silvia is lecturer and researcher (maître d'enseignement et de rechercher) at the Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication of Università della Svizzera italiana - USI, Lugano (Switzerland), and coordinator of the UNESCO Chair in ICTs to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites. She got a PhD in Communication Sciences from USI with a thesis on pragmatic and argumentative aspects of Online Travel Reviews. Her activities lie in the intersection area among digital media, tourism and heritage, and mainly tackle the following topics: characteristics, opportunities and risks of online communication; use of digital media in the promotion of tangible and intangible heritage; social and cultural sustainability of tourism. She has participated in the realization of several Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) about tourism, heritage and digital media. She was executive director and coordinator of doctoral schools founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She is member of IFITT - International Federation for IT in Travel and Tourism.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Eduardo Santander

European Travel Commission, Bruxelles, Belgium

Eduardo Santander is the Executive Director of the European Travel Commission (ETC), an association of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) created in 1948 to promote Europe as a tourism destination. In this role, Mr Santander steers ETC’s activities aimed at building the value of tourism for the countries of Europe through cooperation in sharing best practices, market intelligence and promotion. Under his leadership, ETC has extended its membership to private organisations and academia with the launch of the Associate Membership Programme and developed a long-term strategic partnership with the European Commission for the promotion of Destination Europe in long-haul markets. Mr Santander has over 18 years of experience in tourism marketing, brand development, business consulting, advocacy and public affairs gained in diverse private companies and public institutions from the tourism and hospitality sector. Educated in Spain, USA and Austria he holds a PhD in Sport Sciences and an MBA degree with a focus on Hospitality and Recreation Industry Management. Mr Santander is a passionate advocate of freedom to travel, smart connectivity and sustainability in tourism and beyond.

Invited Speakers

IUCN-ICCROM World Heritage Leadership Programme, Rome, Italy

Eugene is the Programme Manager of the IUCN-ICCROM World Heritage Leadership programme since 2017, based in Rome, Italy. WHL is a capacity building programme aiming to improve management practices by interlinking culture and nature while taking people-centred approaches. The programme focuses on areas of effective management, building resilience and conducting impact assessments. She holds a BA in Korean History, an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies, and is completing her PhD in World Heritage Studies. She was the national focal point for World Heritage in Korea for nine years, and an independent researcher prior to her work at ICCROM. She participated in the World Heritage nomination and management projects that cover diverse cultural and natural sites, such as archaeological sites, living historic villages, architectural complexes, geological sites of volcanic and paleontological evidence, and marine biodiversity sites. She served as the rapporteur for the World Heritage Convention General Assembly in 2011, and also as rapporteur of the World Heritage Committee in 2016.

Faculty of Tourism Studies Turistica, University of Primorska, Slovenia

Emil Juvan is an associate professor of Business and Organizational sciences in tourism at the Faculty of Tourism Studies Turistica, University of Primorska. He entered academic career after 10 years of working experiences in different H&T sectors and upon completion of bachelors and master’s degrees; both in tourism field. In 2015, he completed PhD studies at The University of Queensland (The UQ Business School) under the supervision of prof. Sara Dolnicar. His research interests cover social and environmental impacts of tourism and destination stakeholder collaboration. In particular, he is interested in developing empirically supported ways/solutions for reducing negative environmental impacts of tourism, that can easily be applied to industry.

Ticino Turismo, Switzerland

Angelo Trotta has more than 25 years of international experience in the marketing and sale of luxury goods, consumer goods and financial services. After graduating in Economics from the University of St. Gallen, having specialised in Marketing & Sales, he held various high-level management positions at the helm of international groups in Switzerland, Italy, France, Brazil, Germany and Spain. During his long career, he has acquired extensive experience in development plans and marketing and sales strategies, budgets and business plans, regional marketing, project and product management, market analysis, trade marketing, digital marketing and sponsoring. He has also undergone further training in various foreign countries and is fluent in six languages. Angelo Trotta was appointed director of Ticino Turismo in 1 July 2019.

Organizzazione Turistica Regionale del Mendrisiotto e Basso Ceresio and WHES - World Heritage Experience Switzerland

Nadia Fontana Lupi was born in Mendrisio, is married and has a son. In her professional career, she was involved in sales, marketing, event organisation and public relations, working more than twenty years in Zurich and Lugano for Swiss airlines: Swissair, Crossair and Swiss International Airlines. Since 2004, she is the director of the Regional Tourism Organisation “Mendrisiotto and Basso Ceresio”. She took part in the working group that revised the cantonal tourism law that came into force in 2015, which confirmed the Destination “Mendrisiotto and Basso Ceresio” as the fourth tourism region in Ticino, and is a member of the cantonal Marketing Commission. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Ticino Turismo (2008-2014) and Vice President of the Monte San Giorgio Foundation (2008-2012), as well as of the Association of Swiss Tourism Managers (2008-2018). She is a founding member of the associations Centro di Competenze Agroalimentari Ticino and the Grand Tour of Switzerland. In 2008, she joined the Board of the Foundation Processioni Storiche Mendrisio and she managed the preparation of the candidacy dossier for the Mendrisio Holy Week Processions to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (inscribed in 2019). Since 2009, she has been a member of World Heritage Experience Switzerland (WHES), the umbrella association for the promotion, transmission and management of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Switzerland, of which she was first vice president and which she has chaired since 2021. Photo credit: Jacques Perler.

Executive Secretary, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes, Council of Europe (EPA),
Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR), Luxembourg

Dr Dominioni is Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) and Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes (Luxembourg). He is responsible for overseeing the certification by the Council of Europe of Cultural Routes in the field of European culture and heritage across its 46 Member States, and the regular evaluation of the current 48 certified Cultural Routes. Dr Dominioni ensures EPA Governing Board and Statutory Committee operations, management of the European Institute of Cultural Routes and coordination with the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. He is responsible cooperation with the European Union and International Organisation such as UNESCO, OECD and UNWTO. During his career at the Council of Europe, he has worked for the Directorate General of Education, Culture and Youth and the Directorate General of Social Cohesion. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and a B.A. from the University of Milan.

UNESCO Chair University of Genoa, Italy

Swiss architect of the Politecnico of Milan, specialized in Anthropology of the Andes and the Amazon, Adine researches Forest Cultures, Healing Landscapes and pre- Hispanic and indigenous Ceremonial Architectures. She worked on the Peruvian Coast of Cahuachi, Ventarrón and Chaparrí, on the Andean mountains of Ollantaytambo, WHS Machu Picchu and Tiahuanaco, in the Amazon of Mayantuyacu and in the Cloud Forest of Abiseo. Her field Technomorphology structured a theoretical discipline and a methodology to analyze both archaeological Heritage and Living Cultures and produced projects also in WHS of Chauvet in France, Sacri Monti and Etna in Italy, Monte San Giorgio in Italy and Switzerland and Borobudur in Indonesia. In Italy Adine is founding member of the UNESCO Chair “Anthropology of Health” of the University of Genoa, in Peru Professor in Peru of National University Pedro Ruiz Gallo of Lambayeque, professor of National Intercultural University of Amazonia in Pucallpa and professor of National Intercultural University of Quillabamba, as well as director for the Cultural component of the Rio Abiseo Expedition on the Mixed WHS Río Abiseo since 2017 and co-director of the Fiesta del Agua Festival - Far ich Lap in Lambayeque. Adine authored numerous monographs, among which Arquitectura Andina – formas e historia de los espacios sagrados, Microcosmos – visión andina de los espacios prehispánicos and Lima – memoria prehispánica de la traza urbana.

Researcher at João Pinheiro Foundation, Brazil

Rafael Oliveira graduated in Tourism and Public Administration. He has a Ph.D. in Knowledge Management and Organization at Federal University of Minas Gerais – Brazil. He has experience in public administration and worked in the Secretary of Tourism of Minas Gerais State as Director of Research, Information and Statistics and as Superintendent of Tourism Policies. Nowadays, he is a researcher at João Pinheiro Foundation. He is the owner of the “Tourism and Innovation” website (in Portuguese language): a space to discuss ICT concepts and innovation in tourism. His research interests are smart and sustainable indicators for World Heritage Sites, web scraping techniques and the use of ICT to improve user’s experience in destinations.

Academy of Tourism of Fondazione Campus in Lucca, Italy

Eva Vroegop is a postdoctoral researcher studying quality of life challenges in tourism at the Academy of Tourism of Fondazione Campus in Lucca (Italy), an initiative of the universities of Pisa, Pavia, and USI Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano (Switzerland). She completed her PhD at USI analyzing how recalling vacation trip experiences influences people’s emotions and behaviour. Currently, Eva teaches Sustainable Tourism Experience Design in the USI Master in International Tourism as well as a hands-on Tourism Capstone Project at Fondazione Campus. Her research focuses on well-being and quality of life in tourism, sustainable and nature-based tourism, as well as cognitive and positive psychology approaches to understanding tourist behaviour. Drawing on empirical research, Eva is committed to designing practical actions and policy/management strategies that improve the quality of life of people working in tourism, destination visitors and community residents as well as the quality of the natural environment which they are part of.

Swiss Tourism Federation

Romy Bacher discovered her passion for tourism when she got her first part-time job in a hotel at the age of 15. She then studied Business Administration at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Bachelor: Major in Tourism & Mobility / Master: Major in Business Development & Promotion). She gained her practical tourism experience mainly in incoming tourism, including four years as MICE Manager at Engelberg Titlis Tourismus AG. After a brief detour in the agency world, she now combines her personal passion for the topic of sustainability with her professional commitment and, as Head of Sustainability, has been building up the Sustainability Competence Center at the Swiss Tourism Federation together with her team since January 2022.


Participation to the conference is considered final only once the registration fees have been paid. The number of participants is limited: once the number of paid registrations reaches the maximum number of participants, unpaid registrations will be cancelled.

When registering, please provide us with your institutional email address. This will accelerate the registration process. If you are registering several people under the same registration, please do not use the same email address for each person, but their individual institutional email addresses. Thank you for your understanding.

Register with your friends!

Groups from 5 to 9 people are offered a 10% discount on the registration fees; from 10 people upwards is offered a 15% discount. To enjoy this discount you need to complete one multiple registration, by selecting the number of people attending in each category (type of registration) during the first step of the registration process. Then, we will apply the discount. Please note that no other discounts will be applicable.

What is included?

  • Attendance of all conference sessions
  • Afternoon coffee break, vegetarian lunch and apero
  • Conference bag and program flyer
  • Online Certificate of Attendance: at the end of the conference, participants will be able to download their certificate of attendance by accessing their Sciforum account. They will need to select "My certificates" and click on "Download" next to the correct event
Until 24th March 2023
Supported documents
Academic 120.00 CHF
Student 70.00 CHF Scanned copy or photograph of your current student ID is required
Non-Academic 180.00 CHF
Invited Speakers and MDPI Guests Free
Cancellation policy

Cancellation of paid registration is possible under the terms listed below:

> 2 months before the conference

Full refund but 20 CHF are retained for administration

> 1 month before the conference

Refund 50% of the applying fees

> 2 weeks before the conference

Refund 25% of the applying fees

< 2 weeks before the conference

No refund


We will endeavour to present the program advertised. However, in the unlikely event that MDPI shall deem it necessary to cancel the conference, all pre-paid registration fees will be reimbursed. MDPI shall not be liable for reimbursing the cost of travel or accommodation arrangements made by individual delegates.

Photographs and/or video will be taken during the conference

By taking part in this event you grant the event organisers full rights to use the images resulting from the photography/video filming, and any reproductions or adaptations of the images for fundraising, publicity or other purposes to help achieve the conference’s aims. This might include (but is not limited to), the right to use them in their printed and online publicity, social media, press releases and funding applications.


The organizers do not accept liability for personal accident, loss, or damage to private property incurred as a result of participation in the SSF 2023. Delegates are advised to arrange appropriate insurance to cover travel, cancellation costs, medical, and theft or damage of belongings.

Payment methods

Wire transfer, Credit card

Currencies accepted by this event

Swiss francs (CHF) ,  Euros (EUR) and US dollars (USD)

Conference Program

Friday 31 March 2023


Registration Desk Open (Check-in)

10:00 – 10:10

Welcome message: USI Deputy Rector

10:10 – 10:45

Keynote Talk: Eduardo Santander, Executive Director European Travel Commission, Bruxelles, Belgium

Sustainable tourism transition in European destinations

10:45 – 11:00

Carlo Fontana, director of Hotel Lugano Dante

New Concept of LUGANODANTE

11:00 – 11:15

Anna Picco-Schwendener

Digital exhibition on pictures by Heinz Plenge

11:15 – 11:30

Short Break

11:30 – 13:00
Different facets of sustainability in tourism
Chair: Silvia De Ascaniis

11:30 - 11:50

Eva Vroegop, postdoctoral researcher Academy of Tourism of Fondazione Campus in Lucca (Tuscany), Italy

Social sustainability of tourism. Residents’, tourists’ and tourism stakeholders’ well-being

11:50 – 12:10

Emil Juvan, associate professor Faculty of Tourism Studies Turistica, University of Primorska, Slovenia

Ecological sustainability of tourism. Tourists’ behaviour and arguments

12:10 – 12:30

Rafael Oliveria, researcher at João Pinheiro Foundation, Brazil

Cultural sustainability of tourism. Indicators for heritage tourism management

12:30 – 13:00


13:00 – 14:00

Lunch Break and Posters

14:00 – 15:30
Swiss tourism and sustainability
Chair: Lorenzo Cantoni

14:00 - 14:20

Angelo Trotta, director Ticino Turismo, Switzerland

“Go green… small steps go a long way”, sustainable holiday offers in Tessin

14:20 – 14:40

Nadia Fontana-Lupi, Organizzazione Turistica Regionale del Mendrisiotto e Basso Ceresio and president WHES, Switzerland

Tourism sustainability at World Heritage Sites

14:40 – 15:00

Romy Bacher, Head of Sustainability Swiss Tourism Federation, Switzerland

Swisstainable - together we shape Switzerland as a sustainable tourism destination

15:00 – 15:30


15:30 – 16:00

Coffee Break and Posters

16:00 – 17:30
Policies and strategies of tourism sustainability at the international level
Chairs: Silvia De Ascaniis & Lorenzo Cantoni

16:00 – 16:20

Adine Gavazzi, UNESCO Chair University of Genoa, Italy

Sustainable Tourism issues in Machupicchu

16:20 – 16:40

Stefano Dominioni, Executive Secretary EPA and Director EICR, Luxembourg

Cultural routes as sustainable assets for tourism in Europe

16:40 – 17:00

Eugene Jo, Programme Manager IUCN-ICCROM World Heritage Leadership

Sustainability of creative interventions on heritage: gaps and challenges

17:00 – 17:30

Discussion & Conclusion

17:30 – 18:00



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Instructions for Authors

Instructions for authors

The Swiss Sustainability Forum 2023 will accept poster contributions only.

All accepted posters, along with their abstract, will be displayed online on both during and after the conference, provided that registration is completed.

Authors of all accepted posters have to register to the conference, otherwise their poster will be withdrawn. Please use the same email address during registration and when submitting your work.

The best 10 posters among the accepted ones, will have the opportunity to be exposed at the conference venue during lunch and coffee breaks. The printing of the posters is at the authors’ expenses. The printed version needs to be brought on the day of the conference.

To submit your research

Create an account on Sciforum if you do not have one, then click on ‘New Submission’ on the upper-right corner of the window, or by clicking on ‘Submit Abstract’ at the top of this webpage.

  • Submit the abstract of your poster in English (minimum 150 words and maximum 500 words) and a PDF file with your poster. The deadline to submit your abstract is 24 March 2023
  • Following assessment by the Chairs, you will be notified by 24 March 2023 in a separate email whether your contribution has been accepted and if it will have the opportunity to be exposed at the conference venue
  • Please note that at least one registration by any of the authors, denoted as Covering Author, is required to cover the online publication (and eventual presentation) of any accepted poster. Covering Author registration deadline is 24 March 2023. Your poster will be withdrawn if your registration is not complete by this date

Submission Information

A poster session titled “Sustainable Tourism Stories” will be organized within the conference. Posters need to present cases, initiatives or projects at the local or global level that contribute to the understanding of the topic. They will be given a proper space in the conference venue and can be presented to participants during coffee and lunch breaks.

Posters should comprise the following information about the presented case/initiative/project:
- Timeframe
- Goals
- Intended audience
- Impact/expected impact
- Promoters/organizers
- Relevant pictures and/or relevant data
- Future openings

Venue, Travel and Accommodation


Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland called Canton Ticino. The city and its surroundings are full of natural beauty, and its cultural and artistic heritage makes Lugano a unique touristic attraction enjoyed by both domestic and international tourists.

The city overlooks a beautiful lake - which can be skirted for example along the Gandria path (rich in plant and animal species, even rare) - and is surrounded by mountains from which you can enjoy fantastic views, while the streets of the historic center allow you to stroll among Lombard-style buildings, museums, cultural centers, boutiques and shops for all budgets. Parks, play areas, beaches and swimming pools also allow you to take advantage of outdoor activities. For a complete overview on all the activities, visit City of Lugano and Lugano Region Official Tourism Office.


In the historical, beautiful, and vibrant center of the city, LUGANODANTE is the ultimate meeting point for both hotel guests and locals looking for a unique experience in Lugano, that enchanting place where everyday' stress disappears, and one can lose himself, mesmerized by the gentle streams of our beautiful lake. The hotel's design is based on the principle of hybrid hospitality: the lobby acts as an urban lounge, and the green area invites you to enter and discover its relaxing garden.

The conference will take place in the "Creative Box".

LUGANODANTE is part of the Swisstainable hotels that can be found in Lugano. It is located in Piazza Cioccaro 5, 6900 Lugano (CH). Click on the map to find out how to reach it from the train station or your location!


We want your stay in Lugano during the conference to be as good as possible. With that in mind, we have agreed a discount with LUGANODANTE to make your accommodation choice easier.

Please contact the venue at or 091 910 57 00 to have a 10% discount on your reservation.

    Sponsors and Partners

    We invite you and your company to participate in and sponsor the SSF2023! Find all information on sponsorship opportunities in our Sponsorship Agenda. If you have any questions or wish to discuss options further, please do not hesitate to contact the Conference Secretariat. We thank you for your consideration!

    For information regarding sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please click here.



    Media Partners