International Mountain Day 2021: sustainable mountain tourism
The theme of this year's International Mountain Day is sustainable mountain tourism.
Mountains form part of our common natural UNESCO World Heritage. While the World Heritage Convention protects these irreplaceable mountain areas, the COVID-19 pandemic badly affected the sector of tourism, which created a crisis of economic and livelihoods for mountain communities. The United Nations is ambitious of mountain tourism by creating this theme for International Mountain Day 2021.
Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation. It is a way to preserve the natural, cultural and spiritual heritage, to promote local crafts and high value products, and celebrate many traditional practices such as local festivals.
Mountain tourism attracts around 15 to 20 percent of global tourism. Tourism, however, is one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting economies, livelihoods, public services and opportunities on all continents. In mountains, the restrictions of the pandemic have further compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities.
This crisis can be seen as an opportunity to rethink mountain tourism and its impact on natural resources and livelihoods, to manage it better, and to harness it towards a more resilient, green and inclusive future for generations to come.
Learn more about the mountains on Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island (Japan) UNESCO World Heritage site inscribed at the recent 44th Extended session of the World Heritage Committee.
Read our recent ‘Visitors Count' publication, launched to measure the value of tourism in protected areas.