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Monday, April 15, 2024

Green Peaks: Leading Sustainable Wellness Tourism!

Pioneering a Greener Future.In an era where the thirst for authentic, sustainable, and enriching travel experiences surpasses the mere allure of destinations, the world’s mountain regions stand at a pivotal juncture. The 12th World Congress on Snow, Mountain, and Wellness Tourism, held in the serene and picturesque settings of the mountainous terrains, has heralded a new dawn for mountain tourism. This congress, a melting pot of ideas, innovations, and inspirations, underlines a significant shift towards sustainable and responsible tourism practices that promise to redefine the essence of mountain adventures.

At the heart of this transformative journey is the acknowledgment of the multifaceted challenges that mountain regions face, including the ominous shadows of climate change and the rapidly evolving consumer trends. However, these challenges are not seen as roadblocks but rather as stepping stones towards cultivating a tourism model that is not only sustainable but also immensely beneficial for the local communities and ecosystems. The Congress, an embodiment of the United Nations’ Five Years of Action for the Development of Mountain Regions, has laid a blueprint for fostering medical and wellness tourism, promoting premium segments, and attracting human talent to these majestic landscapes.

The event was graced by notable figures, including the Prime Minister of Andorra, Xavier Espot, who emphasized the critical balance between environmental sustainability and the well-being of the communities. With Andorra witnessing a resurgence in tourism to pre-pandemic levels, the Prime Minister’s message was clear: tourism should be a solution, not a problem. This vision aligns with the broader goals of the Congress, which seeks to harmonize the development of mountain areas with the principles of sustainability and community welfare.

Transforming Mountain Tourism.
Transforming Mountain Tourism.

Natalia Bayona, the Executive Director at UN Tourism, echoed this sentiment, highlighting tourism’s vital role in supporting mountain communities and ecosystems. According to Bayona, the congress is a step towards a more innovative, inclusive, and sustainable future that benefits both people and the planet.

A high-level panel discussion featuring tourism ministers and secretaries from Andorra, Spain, and Italy delved into the strategies for diversification, innovation, and sustainability in mountain tourism. The consensus was unmistakable: creating a cohesive framework that unites all stakeholders towards a sustainable and resilient mountain tourism ecosystem is imperative.

One of the standout themes of the congress was the exploration of health tourism. With mountains offering a unique proposition for medical and wellness tourism, the discussions highlighted the potential for these regions to cater to the year-round demand of tourists seeking wellness and rejuvenation. From the European Spas Association to the Health Tourism Worldwide, the insights shared painted a promising picture of health tourism as a catalyst for the development of mountain areas.

Tourism’s role in rural development was another focal point, with representatives from the Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism showcasing innovative approaches to overcoming seasonality and promoting local culture. The congress also featured diverse participants, including representatives from National Geographic, the Sustainable Alpine Tourism Initiative, and leading educational institutions, underscoring the collaborative effort to advance mountain tourism.

As the congress wrapped up, the message was clear: the future of mountain tourism lies in embracing wellness, adapting to new trends, and fostering sustainable development. With over 300 participants from 14 countries, the event provided a platform for knowledge exchange and set the stage for a future where mountain tourism is a beacon of sustainability, innovation, and community empowerment.

This transformative approach to mountain tourism is not just a blueprint for the future; it’s a clarion call for action. It invites us to reimagine our relationship with the mountains, not as mere destinations but as sanctuaries of wellness, culture, and environmental stewardship. As we look towards the horizon, the 12th World Congress on Snow, Mountain, and Wellness Tourism stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of innovation and the collective will to forge a sustainable path forward for mountain tourism.




Written by: Supaporn Pholrach







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