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April 30, 2023

Mountain Tourism Accounts Between 9 & 16% of International Tourist

A recent report published by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has revealed that mountain tourism represents between nine per cent and 16 per cent of international tourist arrivals worldwide.

According to the same source, there were between 195 to 375 million mountain tourists in 2019, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

In addition, the report highlights the mountains are home to about 1.1 billion people, some of whom are among the poorest and most isolated in the world, and mountain tourism could be very beneficial for them in the future.

At the same time, mountains have long drawn tourists interested in nature and open-air destinations and outdoor activities like walking, climbing and winter sports. They also attract visitors with their rich biodiversity and vibrant local cultures,” points out a press release of the UNWTO regarding the report.

Based on the report called “Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism”, in 2019, the ten most mountainous countries received only eight per cent of international tourist arrivals globally. These countries are:

  1. Bhutan
  2. Nepal
  3. Tajikistan
  4. Kyrgyzstan
  5. Lesotho
  6. Andorra
  7. Afghanistan
  8. Chile
  9. China
  10. Armenia

UNWTO also noted that mountain tourism is expected to increase the income of local communities and help preserve their natural resources and culture.

Thus, the Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), UNWTO and the Mountain Partnership (MP) recommend that measuring the volume of visitors to the mountains represents the first major step towards unlocking the sector’s potential.

In this regard, the General Director of FAO, QU Dongyu and the Secretary General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, said that with the right data, the distribution of visitor flows can be better controlled. At the same time, they pointed out that adequate planning should be supported and improved with knowledge of visitor patterns.

According to them, it is necessary to build sustainable products in accordance with the needs of consumers and create appropriate policies that will promote sustainable development.

Moreover, the UNWTO study, which was based on research conducted in 46 countries, shows that the main motives for the sustainable development of mountain tourism are the generation of economic benefits, the creation of opportunities for local communities and the development of sustainable products. This means that the sustainable development of mountain tourism was identified as a means of helping the spread of tourist flows, dealing with seasonality and complementing the existing tourist offers.

The FAO, UNWTO and MP report calls for concerted work to help raise awareness of the socio-economic importance of mountain tourism and policies aimed at creating jobs and supporting small and medium-sized businesses. The report also aims to attract green investments in infrastructure and digitisation of tourism services.