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Mountain tourism, a lifeline for local communities

Sustainable management of mountain tourism can increase local incomes and preserve their culture as well as the region’s natural resources, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Mountain Partnership.

The study indicates that international mountain tourism is expected to represent between 9% and 16% of international tourist arrivals worldwide, i.e. between 195 and 375 million tourists, according to the latest available data of 2019. However, the lack of data related to domestic tourism did not make it possible to estimate the contribution of this important segment.

With the right data, we can better control the dispersion of visitor flows, support proper planning, build sustainable products in line with consumer needs, and create appropriate policies that will promote sustainable development and ensure tourism activities benefit people. local communities said QU Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UNWTO.

Measuring visitor volume in the mountains is the essential first step we need to take “, noted the two agency heads, in the foreword of the report which affirms that the data and indicators available are very limited.

The tourism sector can indeed play a leading role in protecting the livelihoods suited to these fragile ecosystems, which are constantly threatened by climate change and overexploitation. It has even proven to be a lifeline for many communities in mountainous regions.

It should be noted that the mountains are home to around 1.1 billion people, some of whom are among the poorest and most isolated in the world. At the same time, they attract hikers, climbers and winter sports enthusiasts, as well as visitors for their spectacular landscapes, rich biodiversity and vibrant local cultures.

For this, effective planning and management of mountain tourism is necessary and must be accompanied by a better understanding of its size and its economic, social and environmental impacts. The report also provides innovative approaches to measure mountain tourism and manage it in a sustainable way.

It therefore recommends a collective effort involving public and private actors from the entire value chain to improve collection, in order to obtain a more complete assessment of mountain tourism.

It also calls for joint work to help raise awareness of the socio-economic importance of mountain tourism and targeted policies to create jobs, support small and medium-sized enterprises and attract green investment in infrastructure and the digitalization of tourist services.



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