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Report on Territorial Stakeholder Engagement

The Smart Altitude project aims at planning, optimising and implementing high impact low-carbon and resilient policies in Alpine winter tourism regions. These are directed to support local authorities and ski resort operators in developing renewable and efficient energy systems, energy management systems and smart grid solutions. The aim of the “report on territorial stakeholder engagement” is to support the development of coherent and inclusive climate policies, by providing recommendations on stakeholder engagement, analysing existing policy gaps along operational/economic/governance axes and exploring R&I needs and potential for joint Alpine S3 or smart specialization strategies alignment and tools to increase territorial attractiveness. It completes the work on the Smart Altitude Toolkit and provides the basis for developing policy recommendations and a replication roadmap.

According to the stakeholder analysis and prioritization, the key stakeholders identified by Smart Altitude partners are the ski resort managers and ski infrastructure operators, who are in fact the key users of Smart Altitude tools and key facilitators of the project's Living Labs (see Figure). Municipalities are also key stakeholders, since mayors or political representatives encourage stakeholder dialogues and guide and support ski areas with the energy transition. These stakeholders must be managed closely by the project partnership. In order to engage them successfully, it is fundamental to understand their priorities, which may be economically or politically driven, and to find the most effective way to communicate the multi-dimensional benefits that this transition can deliver in terms of economic, social and environmental sustainability for the ski area and the surrounding territory.

Figure: Stakeholder analysis and prioritisation for Smart Altitude project

These key players, as underlined in the full report, have been involved in the project’s Living Labs. The Smart Altitude experience shows that effective communication is crucial for effective engagement and must be carefully planned from the start of each project. Communication activities were carried out by project partners using a variety of approaches, including bilateral workshops and multi-stakeholder workshops and events, plus regular meetings and online/phone communications with key stakeholders. Overall the communication strategy used was considered successful, with some difficulties in reaching regional and national level stakeholders in some countries.

Finally, the engagement of tourists/skiers and residents of winter tourism areas emerged as a key recommendation for successfully planning, optimising and implementing high impact low-carbon and resilient policies in Alpine winter tourism regions. In the Smart Altitude Living Labs, tourists/skiers and residents were engaged at different degrees of involvement, depending on the local context and actions delivered by the Living Labs. For example, in Living Lab Les Orres, where project actions had a wide scope and included also the housing sector, residents and tourists’ engagement was more intensive and was carried out by different means: a municipal newsletters with Smart Altitude updates was disseminated regularly, tourism residencies’ owners and operators were engaged directly in order to involve them in the inclusion of tourism housing in the new microgrid, and representatives of the resort community as well as other stakeholders from the valley (e.g. students and teachers in energy systems and associated communication technologies from the Lycéee of Embrun) participated in the Forum international OCOVA – Smart Mountain aux Orres. In addition, more general communication activities were organized targeting the general public, including tourists, by using the resort website, radio media, TV media and newspapers, and the presentation of Les Orres Living Lab at the annual OCOVA event.

Overall, promoting sustainable practices is a way to enhance natural, economic, and social capital, as well as to attract tourists, who are increasingly aware and sensitive to these issues. The replication and uptake of sustainable, low-carbon practices and achievements can be achieved by raising their visibility to all stakeholders (tourists, ski operators, businesses, local authorities, and communities) by spreading info materials to other ski resorts and networking in order to share knowledge, discuss results, and get feedback and policy suggestions.

For the full report, click here

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