For many, the months of July and August are synonymous with holidays … in the mountains.
In Europe, there are more and more tourists who go to the mountains for their holidays; 150 million in the Alps only! Indeed, the influx of tourists is particularly important in the mountain communes and this has been intensifying for many years now. This raises the question of the environmental pressure of tourism as well as the accommodation and other infrastructures capacity of regions. In many European countries, such as France, Switzerland and Germany, there are more tourists going to the mountains in summer than in winter, according to the Report of the Alpine Convention on « Sustainable Tourism in the Alps » (2013).
To meet this increasing demand, mountains have to continue adapting and offering sustainable tourism activities while making themselves accessible to all.
- Sustainable tourism activities in mountain
Providing sustainable tourism activities based on natural and environmental values is fundamental for mountain areas seeking to attract tourists without negatively impacting the natural and cultural heritage. This is the case of the “Espubike” project in Spain which proposes a 146km cycling trail in the Regional Park of Sierra Espuña. The project had a direct and positive impact on the local economy, since the trail brought many visitors to the nearby villages.
- The improvement of energy efficiciency in mountain hotels
It is very important that hotel and restaurants owners who welcome many tourists can implement initiatives to reduce their energy consumption, with taking a sustainable development approach. Mountain hotels can improve their energy efficiency. This is the case of the Cyprianerhof Hotel, located near the Rosengarten massif in South Tyrol in Italy, which has managed to reduce costs, minimize waste and save energy while providing a healthier environment and increased comfort for its guests. (Read the good practice)
- Making mountain accessible for everyone
Making mountains accessible by all means to enable people with disabilities to travel in the mountains. Making the mountains accessible is a major challenge, but some destinations have already developed adapted infrastructure and services. This is the case of the “Trentino accessible” initiative, which aims at increasing the number of disabled tourists in the Trentino region to demonstrate that they are an economic opportunity at all levels and thus they shouldn’t be seen as a problem. For instance, the project developed a mobile application providing accessibility information for disabled people and an “Ibus voice” system for blind people to give them oral information on the bus stops. (Read the article here).
Besides, Euromontana is a partner of the European project Silver Tourism, which aims to train experts in senior tourism, to make mountains accessible also to senior people.
Other good practices exist, check them out:
- A web portal listing mountain huts
- How to transform ancient alpine forts into tourism resources?
- A military fort transformed into an ultra-modern museum in the Italian mountains
- How to reconvert an old industrial park into a social centre in a small village
- The role of rural tourism in mountain areas as a development agent
- Sustainable tourism activities in mountain – the example of Espubike in Spain
- How to improve energy efficiency in mountain hotels and restaurants
- Good practices presented during the European Mountain Convention held in Bragança (Portugal)
- Awards for tourism projects in the mountains of the Rhône-Alpes region
For more information, you can visit the “Sustainable tourism” theme page and the tab “Docs & Links” that redirects to all articles and good practices written by Euromontana, as well as the events organised on this topic.21 August 2017