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The World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism Focuses on New Challenges

The World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism Focuses on New Challenges - TRAVELINDEX.comAndorra la Vella, Andorra, March 2, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / “Sustainability and wellness, the keys to mountain tourism” will be the slogan 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.

• Organised within the framework of the “Five years of action for the development of mountain regions” of the United Nations, the Congress will feature internationally renowned speakers who will explain real experiences of “wellness tourism” and “health tourism”, the new concepts incorporated into the congress.

• This year, as a new feature, the Congress will focus on the theme of “wellness”, reflecting the demand of a new tourist and the necessary adaptation of the offer to the new needs of travellers and to the challenges faced by mountain destinations due to the diversification and advance of climate change.

Organised by the Government of Andorra and the Comú (town council) of Encamp, in the collaboration with UN Tourism, the Congress also has the support of the other Comuns (town councils) of Andorra and two main sponsors: Andorra Telecom as technological sponsor and Creand, Crèdit Andorrà, as financial sponsor.

“Once again, we are delighted that Andorra is hosting the World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism. Andorra’s tourism promotion model has always emphasised the importance of mountain and snow tourism. Now, in response to the demand of the new traveller, we are beginning to highlight the wellness attributes that have always accompanied the country of the Pyrenees,” says Jordi Torres, Andorra’s Minister of Tourism and Trade.

“The Government of Andorra is aware of the importance of working with determination to achieve the difficult and indispensable balance between economic growth, the well-being of citizens and the protection of the environment. In short, the challenge is to work for a more sustainable tourism, which takes into account social, economic and environmental aspects, to ensure the prosperity of citizens and professionals in the sector, without neglecting the satisfaction of visitors,” added Torres.

UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “It is our duty to ensure that tourism contributes to the sustainable future of mountains and that we work to guarantee the competitiveness and sustainability of mountain tourism for the benefit of mountain people.

“This edition of the congress is intended to serve as a roadmap for the sector to shape the future of mountain destinations, showcasing examples of innovation, best practices and creative initiatives that can serve as inspiration to grow stronger and better for the benefit of local communities around the globe,” added the secretary-general.

On this occasion, UN Tourism will present its recent report prepared together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Mountain Partnership: Understanding and Quantifying Mountain Tourism.

Real experiences of new concepts such as “wellness tourism” and “thermal tourism”

In this edition, top-level professionals and many institutional representatives will discuss, during the two days of work, issues such as sustainability as the axis of the development of the tourism sector, tourism diversification, especially the emerging tourism products that respond to the new demands of travellers of the future, as well as the necessary training to face this transformation, among others.

Real experiences of the implementation of the “wellness tourism” concept will be highlighted with speeches by Lászlo Puczko, CEO of Health Tourism Worldwide, Joan Muro, President of Andorra Health Destination Association, and Emma Haefeli, Marketing Director of CHENOT GROUP (Switzerland), among others.

Another star product will be “thermal tourism” – in order to delve into this new trend in mountain areas, the congress will be attended by Csilla Mezősi, secretary-general of the European Spas Association, who will explain the experience of thermal tourism throughout Europe.

Also represented will be Best Tourism Villages by UN Tourism such as Saas-Fee, in the Swiss region of Valais (BTV in 2021), St. Anton am Arlberg in Austria (BTV 2023) and Ordino in Andorra (BTV in 2023).

Sustainability will also take centre stage with presentations by Javier Corso, who will present the project that National Geographic has carried out together with Andorra Turisme to improve the impact of tourism on the environment and on people, entitled: “Andorra al natural, the environment in which ideas germinate”. Javier Corso is a National Geographic Explorer, a distinctive position that is only awarded to a few people from around the world who work to protect the planet.

Education and training will also feature prominently at this year’s congress, where Rui Zhou, president of the Bella Vista Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland, together with Maria Abellanett, president of the CETT in Barcelona, will discuss the challenges and human resource needs of mountain tourism in the near future.

Sport will be another theme, this time addressed by David Astrié, director of Icònic Andorra, who will present the medical-sports high-altitude residential centre that aims to become a European and world reference in high-altitude sports training.

Successful experiences will also be presented by representatives of Best of the Alps, Lech Zürs Tourism (Austria), the Pyrenees Agency and Pic du Midi (France).

To address the main issues, the event will be divided into four sessions focusing on health and wellness tourism, the promotion of premium tourism in mountain areas, emerging tourism products and training and recruitment of staff.

You can consult the program here: https://mountainlikers.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/progprov_CMTNMB2024_pub_ENG.pdf

World Congress on Snow, Mountain and Wellness Tourism
The Congress is an initiative of the seven Communes and the Government of Andorra, together with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with the aim of creating a forum for permanent debate on the development and sustainability of tourism in mountain areas. It is organized every two years: the first edition was held in 1998 in Escaldes-Engordany and since then, each edition is organized in a different parish.

More information and registration: http://mountainlikers.com