Tuesday, March 1, 2016

IX World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism


The World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism is an initiative of Andorra’s 7 Communes, the Government of Andorra, and the World Tourism Organization, aimed at setting up a permanent discussion forum on the development and sustainability of tourism in mountain areas. It is held every two years and is organised by each Commune in rotation.
The first edition of the Congress, in 1998, was held in Escaldes-Engordany, under the name of The World Congress on Snow Tourism and Winter Sports. It brought together some 150 participants from 24 countries and served as a starting point for subsequent editions. Together the participants analysed the situation of snow destinations, and reflected on the future prospects of the sector.
Since its inception in 1998, the Congress has focused on the most innovative topics of the time, deriving from the analysis of touristic and social trends, the economic situation, and the development of communication and analysis tools.
For this reason, and supported by the increase in participants at each edition, the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism in Andorra has become an international benchmark for the exchange of knowledge regarding trends, tools, and opportunities for tourism development in mountain areas.

2016 Edition

Sport has come into fashion. Each year more and more people choose a destination to do active tourism, and most do so with their family or a group of friends.
According to the Global Report on Adventure Tourism published by the World Tourism Organisation and the Adventure Travel Trade Association in 2014, sport and adventure tourism generates 263,000 million dollars around the world, and has risen 195% in the last two years.
According to this report, the beauty of the natural surroundings is the most important factor when choosing a destination, followed by the offer of activities and the climate.
Sports such as cycling, hiking, climbing and mountain races are clearly being done more and more, while other mature activities such as skiing increase their potential with the product diversification.
Sport and adventure have therefore become a very promising combination for mountain destinations, both due to the greater demand and the business model, whose atomisation of suppliers and services means that its benefit has a wider effect over the territory.
Over the two days of the congress, we will see interesting success cases from public and private initiatives. We will analyse the new market demands linked to healthier and more active lifestyles, we will see the new marketing tools in which the consumers become prescribers, and find out how a traditional activity like hiking has come back into fashion and how this affects the development of products of sports brands and destinations.

Click here to see the programme

The First Edition of the Congress, in 1998, was held in Escaldes-Engordany, under the name of The World Congress on Snow Tourism and Winter Sports. It brought together some 150 participants from 24 countries and served as a starting point for subsequent editions. Together the participants analysed the situation of snow destinations, and reflected on the future prospects of the sector.

In the Second Edition of the Congress, in 2000, the participants analysed the new trends in tourism management and the impact of technological and social development on the future of snow tourism. The event brought together more than 200 participants from 25 countries, representing private companies, professional organisations and government bodies and it was held in the parishes of Encamp, Escaldes-Engordany and Sant Julià de Lòria.

In April 2002, congress attendees of the event’s third edition sought possible solutions to various exogenous threats to the future of snow fields such as global warming, the fragility of the natural environment, the changing consumer trends of the market and the creation of new products. This edition was held in the parishes of Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra la Vella and Encamp.

In 2005, the Communes, the Government and the WTO agreed to extend the theme of the Congress to include year-round mountain activities and give each edition a particular theme, turning it into the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism as it is today. Thus, the fourth edition of the Congress in 2005, held in Canillo, focused on innovation and mountain tourism.

In 2008, the fifth edition, hosted by Encamp, focused on the impact of climate change on mountain destinations. The 240 congress attendees from all over the world had the opportunity to examine and discuss topics as diverse as the future of ski resorts, the impact of climate change on sporting events and the creation of new products adapted to the new environment.

The sixth edition of the Congress, held in Ordino in 2010, focused on ways to attract new customers to mountain destinations by creating unique experiences, using ICT to distribute information, and improve productivity and profitability. The event received 344 international delegates.

In 2012 it was the turn of La Massana. The seventh edition of the Congress, under the title Mountain Tourism 2.0 New Strategies for Success, examined the use of the latest technologies applied to tourism. It was the most popular edition in the history of the Congress, with more than 400 participants from 27 countries.

At the eighth edition of the Congress, which was held in Andorra la Vella on April 9th and 10th of 2014, we discussed the new potential of mountain tourism in summer and the tools at our disposal for de-seasonalising the possibilities of this particular tourism, such as new products adapted to the new market sectors and emerging markets, as well as mobile and geolocation applications as a tool for dissemination and promotion. We will also have a look at successful mountain resorts, the value of icons in tourism development and marketing, the large nature theme parks in Europe and the USA, and the growth of sports related to natural areas.

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