Rural and Mountain Tourism

Mountain Tourism

Mountain Tourism is a type of "tourism activity which takes place in a defined and limited geographical space such as hills or mountains with distinctive characteristics and attributes that are inherent to a specific landscape, topography, climate, biodiversity (flora and fauna) and local community. It encompasses a broad range of outdoor leisure and sports activities".

Mountain tourism has a high potential to stimulate local economic growth and social change because of its complementarity with other economic activities, its contribution to GDP and job creation, and its capacity to promote the dispersal of demand in time (fight seasonality) and along a wider territory.


This series of conferences provides an overview on the mountain destinations within a broader context and covers topics around the three major pillars: i) sustainable development and planning, ii) investments and incentives and iii) operational issues.

They identify the current environmental, structural and market oriented challenges in mountain destinations and explore the opportunities to maximize the economic potential and social change for the local communities through a sustainable mountain tourism development and management.

Euro-Asian Mountain Tourism Conference



Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism

Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism

Despite the increasing popularity of mountain tourism, there remains a lack of comprehensive data on its size and its socioeconomic impacts. This study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mountain Partnership and the World Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) aims to address the gap in our understanding of a sector that accounts for between 9% and 16% of all international tourist arrivals. The report identifies current trends and provides recommendations to advance data and evidence-based policies around mountain tourism. It also analyses the main drivers of mountain tourism development, most notably for generating economic benefits, creating opportunities for local communities and developing sustainable products.  

Press release: Tourism's potential for mountain ecosystems and communities outlined in new report


Mountain tourism – Towards a more sustainable path

Mountain Tourism Towards a more sustainable pathWith their soaring peaks, remote locations and majestic beauty, mountains have long been a powerful attraction for visitors from all walks of life, who are drawn by the often colourful traditions of local communities, the opportunities for sporting activities, and the spiritual solace to be found in highland landscapes.

This study highlights the important role that tourism can play in valuing the natural and spiritual heritage of mountains, and the cultural diversity and traditional practices of mountain peoples. Particularly when linked to nature and rural tourism, mountain tourism can make a valuable contribution to promoting sustainable food systems and adding value to local products.

Press release: Sustainable Tourism can offer mountain communities a path to prosperity and inclusion

Sustainable Mountain Tourism – Opportunities for Local Communities (Executive Summary)

Sustainable Mountain Tourism – Opportunities for Local CommunitiesRecognizing the potential of mountain tourism for driving the socioeconomic growth and development of local communities, this publication presents a summary of the information generated at UN Tourism’s mountain tourism events (i.e. World Congress on Snow and Mountain and Euro-Asian Mountain Tourism Conference), including a systematic definition of mountain tourism. In addition, it gives an overview of the development of mountain tourism in different parts of the world over time, and the recent structural changes affecting this segment as a result of new market patterns.