World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism Affirms Commitment to Sustainability

Sustainability and wellness, the keys to mountain tourism will be the theme of the 12th edition of the World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism, which will take place on 20, 21 and 22 March in Andorra.

• Sustainability, diversification and qualification of the offer at the centre of the debate.

• Two days of debate on sustainability and competitiveness linked to snow, mountain and wellness tourism with the participation of some thirty leading international experts.

• For the first time this year, true to the congress’s commitment to sustainability, the organisation will calculate the carbon footprint of the event with the aim of offsetting it and becoming a carbon-neutral event.

Some thirty international speakers, top-level professionals and numerous institutional representatives, among which the Secretary of State for Tourism of Spain, will be debating innovation, sustainability and wellbeing in the tourism sector at the 12th edition of the World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism, which will take place on 20 and 21 March at the Andorra Congress Centre.

Over the next two days, more than hundreds of tourism industry professionals are expected to attend the Congress, which will highlight the main challenges faced by the sector and share knowledge and unique experiences that have been implemented around the world.

Over the course of these two days, the speakers will address issues such as: sustainability as the main axis for the development of the sector, tourism diversification, emerging products in response to the demands of the new tourist as well as the training and human resources needs in mountain tourism.

The first session will take place tomorrow.

The Congress will start tomorrow with the opening ceremony by Mrs. Laura Mas Barrionuevo, Mayor of Encamp, Mrs. Natalia Bayona, Executive Director of UN Tourism and His Excellency Mr. Xavier Espot, Prime Minister of the Principality of Andorra.

The congress will go on with the conference “Our wonderful mountains: opportunities and challenges” by Alice Morrison, adventurer, TV presenter and writer, followed by a high-level round table discussion with Jordi Torres Falcó, Minister of Tourism and Trade of Andorra, Rosana Morillo Rodríguez, Secretary of State for Tourism of Spain and Alessandra Priante, President of the National Tourism Agency (ENIT) of Italy. This round table will focus on how to promote diverse and immersive experiences with high added value in mountain destinations.

In this context, UN Tourism will present the report developed together with the FAO Mountain Partnership: “Understanding and Measuring Mountain Tourism“, focusing on the importance of measuring data experiences when managing mountain destinations.

The first session of the congress, dedicated to health and wellness tourism, will feature speeches by internationally renowned speakers such as Athina Babakou, Director of Strategic Planning for the Ministry of Tourism of Greece, Carlos Cendra, Marketing and Communication Director at Mabrian, Emma Haefeli, Director of Marketing and PR, CHENOT GROUP (Switzerland) and David Astrié, Director of Iconic Andorra.

In addition, representatives from the European Spas Association, Health Tourism Worldwide and Andorra Health Destination will complement the line-up of professionals offering their perspectives and experiences in the field of health and wellness tourism.

The growth of tourism in mountain areas, emerging products as well as training and human resources needs will be the main topics discussed on the second day of the congress.

The remaining three sessions will take place on the second day of the congress, which will open with the presentation “Sharing is living” by Sandra Carvao, Director of Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness at UN Tourism.

The second session of the congress will discuss the growth of premium tourism in mountain areas with Hermann Fercher, General Director of Lech Zürs Tourism in Austria, Caroline Couret, CEO of Creative Tourism Network, Daniel Soucaze, General Manager of Pic du Midi in France and Carme Vidales Molina, Expert on initiatives, businesses and gastronomy.

New emerging products will be the central theme of the third session of the congress, in which we will witness specific examples of creative tourism offer, such as that of Sammy Salm, CEO of Best of the Alps and Domitien Détrie, Director General of l’Agence des Pyrénées, or that of Peter Mall, Director and Coordinator of St. Anton Village (Austria) and Jordi Serracanta, Councilor on Tourism and Sports of Ordino (Andorra) – both recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism in 2023.

The fourth session of the congress will focus on the training and qualification of human teams, with presentations by David Hailstones, Senior Vice President & Chief Operations Officer of Bella Vista Institute of Higher Education (Switzerland), María Abellanet, president of the CETT in Barcelona and Franklin Carpenter, Director of Tourism Advisory, Horwath HTL (Spain).

Commitment to sustainability: making the congress a carbon-neutral event.

For the first time this year, the organisation will calculate the carbon footprint of the event, considering at the same time the organisation itself (catering, meals, material, etc.), the travel of all the speakers from their points of origin and the transport between all the activities that take place outside the Congress Centre. This novelty reflects the commitment of the congress towards a more sustainable tourism.

With all the information gathered, a report will be drawn up with recommendations of improvements to reduce the carbon footprint of the congress in future editions. The main objective is to compensate this footprint with the purchase of carbon credits, thus making the Congress a carbon-neutral event.

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