Tourism professionals will gather in Germany on March 2, 2019, for a conference on mountain tourism. Under the theme The Future of Mountain Tourism, 4th edition of the UNWTO Euro-Asian Mountain Tourism Conference, which ends on March 5, will spotlight the significant opportunities to be seized and the challenges facing the development of mountain tourism.
The conference is conceived to create a long-term and shared vision for mountain tourism. The upcoming fourth edition will bring together a wide variety of tourism professionals, ranging from managers of mountain tourism destinations, government officials, destination management organisations and private sector representatives, infrastructure providers and the academia.
The conference will feature some 15 international speakers from Europe and Asia and will include a session on the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme and the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to align actors across sectors and borders on policies and actions.
The Bavarian Minister for Economics, Development and Energy, Hubert Aiwanger, the UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili , and the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Thomas Bareiss, will inaugurate the conference, alongside the Chief Executive of the Berchtesgaden District and host of the event, Georg Grabner.
A total of six panel debates and various thematic presentations, will provide the opportunity for participants to address themes such as the new tourist, the impact of demographic change, digitalization and mobility, tourism experiences for all four seasons, transnational cooperation and the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals, among others.
The event is organised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Berchtesgadener Land Region, with the support of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany.
Meanwhile, UNWTO has released a new report, The report Walking Tourism – Promoting Regional Development, which showcases examples of walking tourism that can serve as a practical reference for destinations looking into the role of walking tourism for their own regional development.
Walking tourism is now one of the most popular ways to experience a destination. It allows tourists to better engage with the local population, nature and culture. It also meets the growing demand for outdoor activities in general. Walking tourism can be developed anywhere as an offer of sustainable tourism with a relatively small investment yet high social and economic returns for residents and tourists alike, if properly developed and managed.
This report by UNWTO underscores the role of partnerships and the involvement and support of local stakeholders in the development and maintenance of walking tourism for regional development, considering that residents and tourists end up sharing common goods and this might give ground for potential conflicts. Therefore, access to training and inclusion of the local population in the tourism value chain is needed in order to seize new business opportunities for regional development.
Increasing consumer demand for “experiencing” a destination in an authentic way and the growing popularity of active tourism make walking tourism more and more relevant beyond walking activities, showcasing a destination as a whole including its local culture and nature.