02 September 2015
This year the 2nd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference is being held in the Republic of Korea. Following on from the success of the inaugural event in Kazakhstan in 2013, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Ulsan Metropolitain City, with support of the Government of the Republic of Korea are hosting the conference in Ulsan from 14 - 16 October 2015.
Under the title ‘Paving the way for a Bright Future for Mountain Destinations’, international experts in mountain tourism from all over the world will discuss recent challenges, illustrate success stories and once again create a platform for exchange of ideas, strategies and business practices towards sustainable mountain tourism in developed and emerging destinations. And Korea Snow will be there!
Mountains can be found in (almost) every country. Accessibility of mountain terrain and often remoteness of location has meant that many mountainous regions around the world and their communities have preserved a certain ‘mountain’ tradition and culture. In Korea this can be seen in the beautiful Buddhist temples located in Odaesan National Park, Ganwong-do. Here locals and visitors come to pray daily while others hike ancient monk paths all year round. This is a place where mountain culture harmoniously meets mountain tourism.
While there are some parallels, European and Asian mountain tourism have had very different development paths, much of which can be attributed to diverse histories, traditions and culture. Skiing as a sport developed in Scandinavia in the early 19th century. Mountain ski resorts started to be developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as access to areas became easier and lift technology started to evolve. This history has meant that many regions in Europe, North America, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand have been mature mountain destinations for some time.
The application of the ski resort concept in Asia has resulted in a distinguished regional character. Many mountain resorts have been developed as year-round tourism facilities, with snow sports in winter making way for golf, hiking and biking activities the rest of the year. Asian destinations have experienced a boom in the last 20 years, with emerging mountain destinations trying to gain a share of established markets.
China has seen a great amount of development in the last decade, culminating in the recent announcement of its successful 2022 Winter Olympics bid. Japan has held a strong market share since the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and continues to be a favourite for many Southern Hemisphere snow enthusiasts. China remains a sought after source market, as well as becoming an emerging mountain tourism destination. Not to mention other emerging Central Asian destinations such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and India (we’ve been there!). Australia and New Zealand continue to hold up as examples of flourishing mountain tourism destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, and complete the picture of an industry with the same natural setting but divergent traditions.
The 2nd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference aims at providing an overview on mountain tourism destinations within a broader context. This year the conference will focus on issues of Accessibility;
Social and Demographic Challenges;
Environmental, Economic and Cultural Issues;
Better Positioning in International Markets; and
Management or Marketing Linkages with Neighbouring Towns and Cities.So, if you’re in the business of mountain tourism, are involved in a national association, are a local or municipal authority within a mountain tourism location, develop resorts, sell resort infrastructure, run a tourism or hospitality business in a mountain resort area or are a researcher or academic with a specialization in mountain tourism – you should register for the conference!
For more details on the conference, the conference program or to contact the UNWTO, follow the link here.
See you there!