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 per cent 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.
Mountains are home to 15% of the world´s population and host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. They provide freshwater for everyday life to half of humanity. Their conservation is a key factor for sustainable development and is part of Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. As the global climate continues to warm, mountain people – some of the world’s poorest – face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people.
Its roots date back to 1992, when the document “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Mountain Development”, was adopted as part of the action plan Agenda 21 of the Conference on Environment and Development.
In Nepal, the 18th International Mountain Day (IMD) marked in Kathmandu the other day to raise awareness about the importance of mountains for people and the planet.
On the occasion experts said that 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. However, the climate crisis is impacting mountain lives and livelihoods from recent avalanche fell from Tukuche Himal in Mustang to unprecedented rains in rain shadow areas like Manang and Mustang to Melamchi floods and the recent loss of agricultural products to unseasonal rains.
Nepal is already facing the brunt of climate change. Such unforeseen events are increasing and recurrence has also accelerated. Mountains are the main source of biodiversity, water resources, the origin of civilization and culture. These mountainous areas are at high-risk in the present situations as climate crisis is posing serious threat, Gobinda Bahadur Shahi, the activists and International Vice-Chair of Mountain Partnership and Executive Director of Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre (KIRDARC) Nepal mentioned.
On the occasion The Mountain Advocacy Summit on “Unlocking Mountain Potentials: Connecting the Dots for Sustainable Planet (MAS2022)” was announced, which will be held from March 13 to 14, 2022 in Mustang.