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The Town of Vail on Wednesday issued the following press release on a Vail delegation headed to Europe this month to explore sustainable tourism and other topics in St. Moritz and St. Anton. It will be led by Mayor Kim Langmaid and Town Manager Scott Robson, who recently was reported to be a finalist for a similar position in Telluride. Here’s the full release:
A Vail delegation, headed by Mayor Kim Langmaid and Town Manager Scott Robson, will be traveling to Europe later this month to meet with counterparts in two resorts spanning two countries to explore sustainable tourism and other topics of mutual interest.
The official Peer Resort Exchange travels will take place March 19-26 and will begin with a visit to St. Moritz, Switzerland, to renew old friendships which began 40 years ago when the two resorts became sister cities. Vail and St. Moritz share a deep connection as hosts of large-scale international ski racing events with St. Moritz hosting the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships a record five times in its history, while Vail and Beaver Creek have shared the collective honors three times.
The last official visit to St. Moritz by a Vail delegation took place in 1994 where the group explored the vast array of year-round cultural events, including polo matches on snow. For the upcoming trip, the list of interests has expanded to include environmental stewardship; marketing and sustainable destination planning; pandemic policies and planning; guest experience; village operations and mobility; and architectural design and development.
Mayor Langmaid says the 2022 Peer Resort Exchange is long overdue. “We have so much to learn in connecting with our friends face-to-face,” she said. “Our global initiatives of destination stewardship and our special mountain character and culture have brought us even closer together and this information exchange will help set the stage for expanded partnerships and collaboration on the world stage.”
In addition to Langmaid and Robson, Town Council members Barry Davis, Jen Mason, Pete Seibert, Jr., and Jonathan Staufer will join the trip along with staff leadership from multiple town departments.
Surrounded by the Swiss Alps, St. Moritz is known as the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism dating back to 1864 and has hosted the Winter Olympics twice in its history. St. Moritz is also famous for its mineral springs which established the town as a summer spa resort in its early history. Today, St. Moritz has established itself as a cosmopolitan resort with a high concentration of sport, pristine nature, gourmet restaurants, grand hotels, luxury boutiques and galleries.
During their time in St. Moritz, the Vail delegation will tour the area and meet with counterparts to learn more about local community initiatives related to environmental sustainability, marketing, tourism and sustainable destination planning, as well as exchanging information about village operational practices and guest experience programs. Official tours and meetings will culminate in a press conference and joint meetings with the St. Moritz Mayor and Council on March 21.
Following their official meetings and tours in St. Moritz, the delegation will travel to St. Anton, Austria, known as the cradle of alpine skiing. St. Anton is a small and traditional Tyrolean mountain village with world-class facilities at its doorstep. Considered the pioneer of modern skiing, St. Anton forms the heart of the largest connected skiing area in Austria. During their visit to St. Anton, the Vail delegation will learn more about their village operations, mobility and marketing and sustainability initiatives.
Robson says the host communities have been extremely gracious and accommodating in extending travel invitations, assisting with itineraries and even covering some key expenses for the Vail delegation. He says the Peer Resort Exchange will give Vail leaders an important first-hand opportunity to better understand Vail’s European design roots and how the peer resorts are adapting to modern-day challenges and opportunities. Robson notes, “During personal travel to Switzerland in 2021, I took the opportunity to meet with St. Moritz Mayor Christian Jott Jenny and his staff and they were eager to reconnect our communities and invited a Vail delegation to visit this winter. I’m thrilled we were able to accept their invitation and once again exchange best practices between two of the world’s premier mountain resort communities.”
Robson says the Vail delegation has extended an invitation for officials in the two European resorts to reciprocate with travels to Vail. The town last hosted Swiss officials in Vail during an information exchange in 2015.
The last international fact-finding trip arranged by the Town of Vail took place in 2018 when a 10-member delegation traveled to Japan at the invitation of officials from Yamonouch-machi, located in the Nagano Prefecture. There, the two entities signed friendship exchange agreements that strengthened ties to the Japanese tourism region. Global friendship exchange visits have also taken place between Vail and San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.
Until now, the exchanges had been postponed due to COVID-19. Additional peer resort travels are planned later this year to Park City, Aspen/Snowmass and Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.
For more information about the upcoming Peer Resort Exchange, contact Robson at 970-479-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.