Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism
Coherent Identifier 20.500.12592/q6qp17

Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism



All around the world, mountain tourism is driven by the human desire to experience nature in unique settings. In turn, tourism has proved to be a lifeline for many communities in mountain regions, and it can play a leading role in sustaining systems that contribute to protect these fragile ecosystems from overexploitation and support their adaptation to climate change.When the pandemic led to lockdowns, mountains became an attractive option for travellers looking for less crowded destinations and open-air experiences. Now, as international travel returns, we have an opportunity to rethink mountain tourism, its impact on natural resources and livelihoods, and how to manage it better.In this regard, measuring the volume of visitors to mountains is the first vital step we must take. With the right data, we can better control the dispersal of visitor flows, support adequate planning, improve knowledge on visitor patterns, build sustainable products in line with consumer needs, and create suitable policies which will foster sustainable development and make sure tourism activities benefit local communities.This study, jointly developed by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), addresses the current lack of relevant data and so improves our understanding of mountain tourism. The study also identifies trends and provides a set of recommendations to advance the measurement of mountain tourism, including the enhancement of official tourism statistics through the use of big data and new technologies.The United Nations proclaimed 2022 as the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development to increase awareness of its importance and to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). That same year also marked the 20th anniversary from the first International Year ever devoted to mountains as well as the 20th anniversary of the Mountain Partnership.UNWTO and the Mountain Partnership have been long collaborating to advance the contribution the tourism sector can make to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs. This study is a follow-up to the 2021 joint UNWTO/FAO publication Mountain Tourism – Towards a More Sustainable Path. It will enhance our understanding of tourism in mountains and the need to improve not only how we measure its volume, but also its full economic, social and environmental impacts, to ensure a more sustainable, resilient, accessible and inclusive development of mountain tourism that leaves no one behind.

Cite this content as
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsand World Tourism Organization (2023), Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism, FAO/UNWTO, Rome/Madrid
#84 p.
Published in
Madrid, Spain; Rome, Italy;



sustainable development tourism natural resources management rural communities integrated rural development highlands


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