|Overcoming seasonality to support economic diversification.|
Monday, 21st April 2014
Source : UNWTO
Overcoming seasonality to strengthen the competitiveness of mountain regions also as summer destinations was the topic at the centre of the 8th edition of the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism.
International experts identified sustainability, innovation and accessibility as key success factors to address this challenge (Andorra la Vella, Andorra, 9-10 April 2014).
The seasonal distribution of tourism activities is highly uneven in most mountain destinations, with the main turnover concentrated in the winter season in contrast with a clear decline of demand during the summer. Overcoming seasonality is key for both a more even spread of the economic benefits of tourism and to reduce environmental pressure on destinations.
Mountainlikers: New Trends in Mountain Tourism for the Summer Season, the theme of the 8th World Tourism Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism, addressed the need for mountain destinations to identify new marketing strategies and develop a more diverse tourism offer to remain competitive throughout the year.
Opening the Congress, the Prime Minister of Andorra, Mr. Antoni Martí, stressed the direct link between innovative tourism products and economic diversification: “The tourism strategy driven by the Government of Andorra is perfectly in line with the theme of this Congress. Andorra is currently aiming to further diversify our snow and mountain tourism offer with other compatible activities in the areas of wellness and conference tourism, among others."
Developing new approaches to mountain tourism is of strategic importance, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “Visitors are increasingly interested in mountains in search of new experiences linked to nature and sports. Combined with the need for mountain destinations to adapt their tourism offer to the impacts of climate change and expand the tourism season, now is the perfect time for destinations and operators to look into new products that will expand and adapt the tourism season while creating sustainable tourism experiences”.
Environmental sustainability, the active engagement of local communities, creating new experiences for visitors to enhance destination competitiveness, and state-of-the-art facilities for increased accessibility, were underscored as critical to diversify tourism products, which should also incorporate innovations ranging from the latest developments in outdoor sports and activities to mobile applications.
The Congress was organized by UNWTO and the Government of Andorra, in collaboration with the parish of Andorra la Vella. Gathering more than 450 participants from 31 countries, the Congress was the biggest event of its kind so far, a clear sign of the growing importance of mountain tourism.
The next edition of the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism will be held in Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra, in 2016.