Mountain tourism, sustainable segment of adventure tourism

In some European regions, mountain tourism has turned into mass tourism. In fact, several mountain areas are starting to be overcrowded, which is generating intensive deforestation and, more generally, less attention towards environmental sustainability.

Recently, this topic was discussed during the 3rd World Tourism Organization Euro-Asian Mountain Resort Conference, which was held in Georgia.

UNWTO showed to be very sensitive about this topic, as 2017 is also the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development; it underlined the importance of mountain tourism to the economic development of remote areas, also addressing to its potential to enhance the awareness towards sustainable tourism of travellers, institutions and enterprises. 

In Europe, following the growing demand of experiential tourism, mountain tourism is being characterised by the demand for adventure tourism. The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) reports that the global adventure travel market is worth 80bn euros. This year, ATTA has also included Albania in the top destinations for this type of tourism, along with Portugal.

As reported by the Tirana Times, Albanian tourism operators are investing in this sector: mountain hiking and rafting through natural canyons seem to be the key to attract many adventure tourists who are looking for experiences in emerging destinations.

Also other Countries are promoting themselves as ideal places for this sector, flanking other historical destinations of ski tourism as the Alpine ones, and in which mountain tourism is a crowded and consolidated market.

Among the Countries which are investing on mountain tourism there are Ireland and Slovenia, which is now focusing on the development of environmentally sustainable tourism products. Thanks to its particular attention towards slow tourism, this year Slovenia gained the prize for Best Mountain Hiking Community in Europe, given by IMBA Europe, the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

At Twissen we observed that mountain tourism offers several possibilities to create different tourism products. Adventure tourism, along with experiential tourism, is an excellent sector for his purpose, given the growing demand by international tourism flows. Attention towards sustainability can allow the an environmental-friendly development of infrastructures for mountain tourism, in order to avoid the impairment of the typical mountain ecosystems.