The 9th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism took place in Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra, on 2-4 March, under the theme “Mountainlikers, Sport and Adventure: A Promising Combination”.
Co-organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Government of Andorra, the biennal event is aimed at discussing the challenges and opportunities in snow and mountain tourism as well as evaluating new business models and the needs to incorporate innovative and sustainable practices.
This year, more than thirty experts from Europe, the Americas and Asia, were invited to deliver presentations during six panel sessions covering various topics such as: promoting outdoor and adventure tourism products, hosting sport events, positioning adventure tourism in the global marketplace, etc.
Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Seoul-based tourism consultancy Millennium Destinations participated as panelist in the Session 6 "Hiking: Re-invention of Hiking: An indispensable activity for mountain tourism", and made a presentation of the Millennium HiKes Project: "International cross-cultural hikes between France and South Korea”: exploring new horizons in mountain tourism".
As the boom of outdoor and nature-related hobbies has led to a renewed interest in hiking, the session longed to provide reasons for this recent development and tried to show future implications for mountain destinations.
This last session of the Congress was moderated by Ms. Cathy O’Dowd, inspirational Speaker, adventurer and author from South Africa, who welcomed the audience with a vibrant keynote speech. In particular, Cathy highlighted the importance for children to acquire the taste for hiking from a very young age, and also talked about the power of social media and Instagram stars in promoting mountain and hiking destinations.
Other panelist of the session included:
In particular, Catherine explained how hiking can be developed as as an international tourism product through focusing on cultural experiences and interrelations between hikers and the locals, based on a sustainable development approach. The use of smart technologies was also introduced as a way to enhance hikers' experiences, and to help host destinations to better understand the hikers' profiles, needs and expectations.
This 9th edition of the World Congress was a unique opportunity for the participants to get insights and recommendation on mountain tourism development and promotion, for exemple regarding the life-cycle of mountain tourism products.
Youtube video of session 6 here.
All presentations and conclusions here.