Mountain tourism – Towards a more sustainable path


With their soaring peaks, remote locations, and majestic beauty, mountains have long been a powerful attraction for visitors from all walks of life, who are drawn by the often colorful traditions of local communities, the opportunities for sporting activities, and the spiritual solace to be found in highland landscapes.

This study highlights the important role that tourism can play in valuing the natural and spiritual heritage of mountains, and the cultural diversity and traditional practices of mountain peoples. Particularly when linked to nature and rural tourism, mountain tourism can make a valuable contribution to promoting sustainable food systems and adding value to local products.

Developing sustainable tourism in mountains requires reducing its negative environmental and social impacts and addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has already brought about major changes in the mountain tourism sector and substantial losses for communities and businesses. However, consumer appetites for destinations that are outdoors and less crowded have increased in the wake of the pandemic, and these changes usher in new opportunities for mountain destinations to rebuild a greener and more sustainable form of tourism and rethink their products and services.

For this to happen, the following measures will be critical: innovation and development of year-round tourism experiences; investments in infrastructure, particularly for the digitalization of mountain tourism services; strengthening multi-level-governance, partnerships and active community participation; and ensuring regular assessments of the impact of tourism on mountains, the effective management of waste and resources, and clearer practices for defining and managing the carrying capacity of highland destinations.

Cite this content as:
Romeo R., Russo, L., Parisi F., Notarianni M., Manuelli S. and Carvao S., UNWTO. 2021. Mountain tourism – Towards a more sustainable path. Rome, FAO.

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Author Romeo R.; Russo, L.; Parisi F.; Notarianni M.; Manuelli S.; Carvao S.; UNWTO
Publisher FAO; The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Publication year 2021
Language English

Themes: Sustainable tourism

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