Sustainable mountain tourism – linking nature, tradition and people
Mountain tourism is a considerable factor of development and prosperity throughout Europe. Mountainous regions in particular host many renowned tourist destinations, generating employment, economic activity and social integration, while contributing to the development of the local economy, services and infrastructures. At Euromontana, we want to show that if promoted in a sustainable way, tourism can even help to preserve natural and cultural heritage.
A new competence of the EU
The most recent Communication of the European Commission from 30th June 2010, “Europe, the World’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe“ outlines a new framework of action, which consists of the following four priorities:
- Stimulate competitiveness in the European tourism sector;
- Promote the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism;
- Consolidate the image and profile of Europe as a collection of sustainable and high quality destinations;
- Maximise the potential of EU financial policies and instruments for developing tourism.
The European Union has acquired only recently competencies in the field of tourism, a sector largely under the responsibility of Member States. The EU has the responsibility for coordination, support and complementation of Member States’s actions (Article 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning the European Union) in this sector. Thus, significant opportunities remain in activities related to networking and exchange of good practices between tourism actors and European regions.
Euromontana members are very sensitive to the touristic potential mountain regions have. To ensure that mountain tourism stakeholders take full advantage of new opportunities and meet best tourist’s demand, Euromontana addressed the theme of tourism within various events, studies and projects.
Policy – representation
Follow–up of activities at EU level. Euromontana closely follows and informs its members about the European policy development as regards tourism. In addition of the 2010 communication, a new communication is expected at the end of 2014.
Furthermore, Euromontana supports and promotes sustainable tourism in the mountain areas through the exchange of good practices between members, participation and positioning in various events, seminars and public consultations held at European level.
In 2012, the European Commission has launched a public consultation on a European Charter on sustainable and responsible tourism, to have a common definition of sustainable tourism. The final version of this Charter should be officially adopted in 2014.
- Euromontana has answered to this public consultation in April 2012, see here our answer.
In 2012, the European Commission has also launched a public consultation on the European Tourism Quality Label (ETQL), to create an umbrella label for quality schemes to increase consumer security and confidence in tourism products. This label should be officially adopted in 2014.
- Euromontana has answered to this public consultation in July 2012, see here our answer
DG Enterprise and Industry has implemented, in 2013, the European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS): for Sustainable Management at Destination Level: a set of 27 core and 40 optional indicators to evaluate and monitor the progress towards a more sustainable management of the touristic destinations. A first pilot phase on 100 destinations will last from July 2013 till April 2014. A second pilot phase will last until the end of 2014.
In 2013, the European Commission has also launched a new programme called “ICT and Tourism Business Action“, linking tourism and ICT at 3 levels: a policy component to make recommendations, a technological component TOURISMlink to help tourism professionals with the digital market and an operational component Tourism Business Portal with a portal to assist businesses in each step of their business processes.
In 2014, the European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Future of European Tourism to identify the key challenges and opportunities for the European tourism industry’s future.
- Euromontana has answered to this public consultation in March 2014, see here our answer.
In order to prepare the new programming period 2014-2020, Euromontana has listed the funding possibilities for tourism in mountain areas. See here the article on “Funding Opportunities for 2014-2020” (only for members).
Bearing in mind the importance of tourism for the development of mountain regions, Euromontana is actively compiling knowledge and facilitating networking among its members:
- in January 2009, at the request of the French Ministry of Agriculture, Euromontana carried out the study “Improving the attractiveness of rural areas through common strategies” which focused on collective initiatives in the field of culture and tourism in mountain areas.
- Veronika Korcekova, trainee within the Euromontana secretariat, undertook research on tourism, with a general approach. The result is the “Background document on sustainable mountain tourism” (October 2010) that is accessible on the tourism documents webpage for Euromontana members only. Access here.
- The study “European policies regarding sustainable mountain tourism”, was carried out in 2010, in collaboration with Euromontana members and various tourism related stakeholders from 8 countries (Austria, Germany, France, Macedonia, Norway, Spain, Slovakia, Romania). More information on the “tourism documents” webpage, accessible to Euromontana members only. Access here.
- A background paper recalling the main players of the tourism industry at world level, the different definitions and key issues of sustainable tourism in mountain areas is available here. This document was distributed in September 2011 as a preparatory document of the conference “Sustainable Active Tourism – mountain communities leading Europe in finding innovative solutions” held in Inverness, Scotland.
In order to foster the capacity-building of tourism actors, we have decided to devote our 2011 annual conference to the issue of sustainable active tourism. The conference “Sustainable active tourism – mountain communities leading Europe in finding innovative solutions” took place in Inverness, Scotland, from 27th to 28th September 2011. The interventions from the plenary sessions as well as all powerpoint presentations done by speakers are available on the conference web-page.
Following this event, a Euromontana position paper to support the development of sustainable mountain tourism initiatives in Europe was realised. It can be found here.
Euromontana has organised a conference on “How to reinforce ICT and tourism strategies in rural & mountain areas? Tools and strategies” on 25th June 2014 in Brussels in the framework of DANTE project.
Euromontana is one partner in the Interreg IVC proposal “Digital Agenda for New ICT Tourism adoption in European Rural and Mountain Areas” (DANTE) developed under the coordination of the Province of Torino in Italy. The project has been submitted to the 3rd INTERREG IVC call on April 1st 2011 and sucessfully approved. The objectives of the project are to:
- Promote inclusive growth in mountain and rural areas at European level by sharing and spreading good practices around the theme of sustainable tourism
- Assemble a good practice catalogue around the theme of ICT tools for sustainable tourism in remote areas
- Develop a Sustainable Tourism Plan by local governments involved in order to transfer the good practices to be developed in their rural and mountain areas.
The partnership comprises 15 partners from 12 European countries. Started in early 2012, DANTE project will finish at the end of 2014. For more information, please have a look on DANTE website and all on its results.
Do you want to develop a tourism project in mountain areas and you look for partners ? contact Marie Clotteau