May 31, 2019 – With the development of global tourism and the progress of human life and consumption pattern, mountain tourism has been booming rapidly, attracting extensive attention from the public and capital.
On May 29, the Launching Ceremony of International Mountain Tourism Day and Mountain Tourism International Forum (Nepal) has been successfully held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The event was jointly sponsored by People’s Government of Guizhou Province, International Mountain Tourism Alliance, Nepal Tourism Board, Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agents, and co-supported by World Tourism Organization, Pacific Asia Travel Association, Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation of Nepal, Embassy of P. R. China in the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Embassy of Nepal in China, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Tourism Alliance, World Tourism Cities Federation, Nepal Mountaineering Association and Chinese Mountaineering Association. The proposal for initiating the International Mountain Tourism Day was approved at 2018 Annual Conference of International Mountain Tourism Alliance (IMTA). May 29, 1953 when man first climbed to Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, for International Mountain Tourism Day, was designated as the International Mountain Tourism Day to arouse public awareness about protecting mountain resources and preserving mountain civilization and public responsibility for promoting mountain economy to benefit mountain communities; to initiate a healthy, positive and uplifting lifestyle, to build a better future for mountain tourism; to promote the sustainable development of mountain tourism; and to create a blight future of mountain tourism.
The Launching Ceremony
Mr. Fu Yingchun, the Executive Secretary-General of IMTA
The launching ceremony of International Mountain Tourism Day officially started at 10 a.m. of May 29th. Mr. Fu Yingchun, the Executive Secretary-General of IMTA, pioneered to deliver a speech. He said that mountain nature and human ecology provide endless resources for tourism, and constantly promote new styles of life, production and consumption. So the increasingly dependent mountain tourism has been becoming the darling of tourism industry. The mountain tourism economy has never attracted more attention more than ever before in human history and mountain engine will inexhaustibly show its power itself.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fu Yingchun pointed out that the mountain ecosystem was also fragile. The managers and practitioners of mountain tourism should consider the solutions of many ecological problems from the standpoint of responsible persons. It can not only enable people to enjoy the “green welfare” of mountain areas, but also inject endless “green power” into mountain tourism by finding a scientific, rational and orderly solution to the development of mountain tourism.
Later, Mr. Yang Shichao, the Charge d’affaires of China Embassy in Nepal, said in his speech that more and more Chinese tourists have recently come to Nepal to visit mountains and rivers, experience Nepalese culture, appreciate beautiful cultural heritage, Buddhist tourist attractions and magnificent mountains. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to in-depth tourism exchanges with Nepal and actively promotes the construction of tourism infrastructure, such as airport, hydropower station, telecommunication and cultural industry. The two sides are closely linked. Now China is the second largest tourist import country to Nepal. Every year millions of tourists come to Nepal, which are rich resources. We sincerely hope that China and Nepal will further deepen cooperation and take this opportunity to promote green and ecological sustainable development of mountain tourism.
Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the Foreign Minister of Nepal
At 11 a.m., Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the Foreign Minister of Nepal and Mr. Fu Yingchun, the Executive Secretary-General of IMTA jointly performed the lighting ceremony.
Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali pioneered to deliver a speech on behalf of the Nepalese side. In his opinion, when people reach the summit, they conquered themselves rather than mountain peeks. Mountaineering is a process that cannot be accomplished overnight. Nepal accounts for 80% of the world’s highest elevation peaks. Thousands of climbers have come here to conquer Everest. It is a great action to conquer the mountain. In recent years, we are all concerned about the issue of climate warming. We all live under high mountains. Nowadays, the ecological environment of the Himalayas is worth serious consideration, and there are still many problems. Maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity is very important for the healthy development of mountain tourism.
The Ribbon-cutting Ceremony
After that, a dozen guests including Mr. Fu Yingchun, the Executive Secretary-General of IMTA; Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi, the CEO of NTB; Dr. Mario Hardy, the CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association; Mr. Zheng Xu, the Head of the Delegation of Guizhou Provincial Government; Mr. C.N. Pandey, the President of NATTA; Mr. Yang Shichao, the Charge d’affaires of China Embassy in Nepal, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, which also marked the official launch of the First International Mountain Tourism Day.
Next, Mr. Zheng Xu, the Head of the Delegation of Guizhou Provincial Government, made a speech. He said, “Nowadays, the development of mountain tourism has been in the ascendant and become an important force to promote the development of global tourism. While, the development of mountain tourism has also been facing many problems and challenges, such as ecological damage, environmental pollution, climate change, poverty reduction and so on.” Mr. Zheng Xu mentioned that Nepal and Guizhou have cooperated in organizing a number of mountain cultural tourism activities in the past year. Although they are thousands of miles apart, they are in the same vein. In the future, we will continue to strengthen exchanges with the Nepalese side, learn from each other, and jointly promote the development of mountain economy for the benefit of mountain people.
Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi, the CEO of NTB, delivered a speech. First, he expressed his gratitude to the participants and his pleasure to have such an opportunity. He mentioned that the Nepal Tourism Board has recently committed itself to developing Nepal’s tourism industry in 2020. Alpine tourism has great potential and contains rich economic and cultural resources. All parties should have more and more exchanges and cooperates.
Mr. C.N. Pandey, the President of NATTA, spoke on the stage that this is a grand of international mountain tourism. Every year, people from all over the world come to conquer Mount Everest. Nepal has a pleasant climate, beautiful scenery and convenient transportation. It is very suitable for friends from all over the world to come to Nepal and start a challenging and interesting journey. He said, “We will actively develop Nepal’s tourism industry, so that friends of all countries have a happy and unforgettable experience in Nepal. Experts and scholars from all walks of life are welcome to offer suggestions for Nepal’s tourism and mountain tourism, to further deepen exchanges and cooperation.”
Mr. Fu Yingchun, the Executive Secretary-General of IMTA, awarded the title of “Goodwill Ambassador for Mountain Tourism” to Mr. Xia Boyu
Thereafter, the video of Mr. Xia Boyu climbing Mount Everest was broadcast live at the launching ceremony. Xia Boyu, 65 years old, has spent 43 years realizing his dream of climbing Mount Everest, and he is the first person in China to climb Mount Everest with double leg prosthesis. In view of Mr. Xia Boyu’s efforts for the green development of international mountain tourism and his courageous fighting spirit in challenging the mountain limit, IMTA awarded him the title of “Goodwill Ambassador for Mountain Tourism”.
After awarded, Mr. Xia Boyu expressed his gratitude to IMTA for its recognition and felt very honored. He thought that mountain tourism has developed better and better after it has attracted the attention of mountaineering enthusiasts all over the world. He said, “I have persisted for more than 40 years, and finally in the last year, I climbed Mount Everest. It was Mount Everest that accepted me. I have fulfilled my dream. I will continue to strive for my dream and make my own contribution to the development of mountain tourism and the ecological environment.”
Dawa Tenzing Sherpa, the special standard-bearer of IMTA, successfully climbed the summit of Mount Everest on May 23 with International Mountain Tourism Day Flag. This is not only a tribute to climbers who are brave, courageous, positive and pursuing their ideals, but also a special gift to the first “International Mountain Tourism Day”. On the day of the launching ceremony, the special standard-bearer, Dawa Tenzing Sherpa, handed over the “International Mountain Tourism Day Flag” and “IMTA Flag” to Mr. Fu Yingchun, the Executive Secretary-General of IMTA, and Mr. Zheng Xu, the Head of the Delegation of Guizhou Provincial Government.
After that, Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi, the CEO of NTB; Mr. Wu Mai, the Deputy Secretary-General of IMTA, and Mr. C.N. Pandey, the President of NATTA, co-presented the commemorative cover of International Mountain Tourism Day issued by China National Philatelic Corporation to visitor representatives from 8 countries.
At the launching ceremony, Mr. Wu Mai, the Deputy Secretary-general of IMTA, read the Call to Action: Guarding Our Mountain Home co-sponsored by IMTA, Chinese Mountaineering Association and Nepalese Mountaineering Association, calling on everyone to change from the beneficiaries of mountain resources to the guardians of mountain homes, cherish nature, revere nature, conform to nature, protect mountain ecological environment, and cherish it, to make positive contributions to the sustainable utilization of mountainous resources.
Experts Talk about Green and Sustainable Development of Mountain Tourism
Mountain tourism has become an important force to promote the development of global tourism. In recent years, mountain tourism has been increasingly affected by scientific and technological progress, climate change, ecological environment and other factors. Ecology, green, science and technology have become the key words of high-quality development of mountainous tourism.
The Mountain Tourism International Forum (Nepal), themed “Ecology, green, science & technology lead the high-quality development of mountain tourism”, will focus on the opportunities, challenges and trends facing by the development of mountain tourism, the special tourism around the Himalayas, and the positive development of the mountain tourism industry. Besides, using mountain tourism resources effectively to alleviate or reduce poverty in backward mountainous areas, ensuring mountain tourism safety and rescue, and understanding the impact of global changes on mountain tourism and coming up with relevant countermeasures, protecting mountain ecology and developing sustainable resources will all be included to discuss the new future of high-quality development of mountain tourism.
At the forum, Dr. Mario Hardy, the CEO of Asia-Pacific Tourism Association (PATA), delivered a keynote speech of Setting the Stage for Sustainable Tourism Development. He said that more than 1.4 billion tourists travel around the world every year to support employment, income generation and development. Dr. Mario Hardy predicted that in the next 10 years, tourism industry will grow by 4%, its annual contribution to GDP will grow by 4.4%, and employment will grow by 2.4% annually. He noted that tourism is estimated to be facing a shortage of 14 million posts and that if no action is taken, it will reduce its contribution to global GDP by $610 billion over the next 10 years. He appealed to everyone to help each other for those who could not reach the forum.
Dr. Moez KACEM, Vice President of World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training, gave a speech of Sustainable Mountain Tourism: the European Experience. He said that almost half of the world’s population depend on mountains: mountains contribute between 50% and 90% of the global total drainage (arid and semi-arid regions), and more than 4 billion people live in climate-hydrological sensitive zones; mountains provide more than 15% of the world’s hydropower and other forms of clean energy, and support 25% of the planet’s biodiversity and have 50% of the world’s biodiversity hotspots; one billion people live in mountain areas around the world. In his view, mountain areas rely on ecosystems, commodities and services to increase human welfare and social equity, which significantly reduce environmental risks and ecological scarcity.
Dr. Donghoon LEE, the Chairman of Korea Student Alpine Federation, expressed his views on the topic of Sustainable Mountain Tourism and Effective Waste Management in Mountain Regions. He believed that mountain tourism was the key driving force of social and economic progress in developing regions, which could promote local people to understand and value natural heritage and identity, as well as provide opportunities for cultural exchanges and interaction understanding. Dr. Donghoon LEE pointed out that the growth of tourism in mountain areas was a global trend. Over 90% of the population in mountain areas have low incomes. Improper waste management in mountain areas often causes serious environmental problems and brings risks to residents and tourists. He suggested that appropriate waste management systems should be established first, in accordance with the best principles that are suitable for regional conditions and responsive to public attitudes.
Mountain Tourism Experience Sharing and Business Cooperation Dialogue
At 14 p.m., representatives of the tourism industry held a dialogue on mountain tourism exchange, sharing and business cooperation, and discussed how to develop mountain tourism and conduct business cooperation. Mohan Krishna Sapkota, the Secretory of Ministry of Cultural, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal, pioneered to express that tourism is Nepal’s main source of income. Nepal has been developing and the infrastructure of that has been constantly improving. Moreover, it has a variety of cultures, such as Buddhist culture. He mentioned that 2020 is Nepal’s tourism year. Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but sometimes it seems that traveling to Nepal is very challenging. He said that Nepal was striving to improve facilities so that tourists could enjoy a more pleasant and comfortable journey, hoping to further promote the development of mountain tourism in Nepal through joint efforts.
Subsequently, Mr. Kul Bahadur Gurung, the Secretary-General of Nepal Mountaineering Association, talked about the impact of climate change. Mr. Kul Bahadur Gurung pointed out that the main environmental problems in Nepal were air pollution and species disappearance, including soil deterioration and overpopulation growth. Glaciers are melting, once the ecological environment is affected, the economy and society are also affected. In the past 20 years, people have been losing precious lives due to climate change. In addition to air pollution, the melting of alpine ice and snow has also led to new problems. There are also some challenges, such as resource constraints, which mainly come from the financial aspect; second, there is no early warning mechanism, which is mainly limited by our technology; third, there is a lack of professional trainees to support. Mr. Kul Bahadur Gurung believes that to solve these problems, it not only needs the government’s efforts, but also everyone’s commitment. He mentioned that in 2019 the Nepal Mountaineering Association launched a campaign to clean up mountain garbage, which will be continued in the future.
Li Jianhong, Chairman of Xinjiang Silk Road International Resort, expressed his understanding of mountain tourism market from the perspective of “New Opportunities for the Development of International Mountain Tourism Industry and Beijing Winter Olympic Games in 2022”. He believed that winter sports have made mountain resorts successful and that China’s mountain industry has changed from mountain tourism in the past to mountain vacation in the present.
Li Jianhong mentioned that many mountain resorts in the world are famous for hosting the Winter Olympics. There is no doubt that the Winter Olympics has promoted mountain resorts. Since it successfully bids for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, China’s winter sports have received unprecedented attention. Meanwhile, Li Jianhong pointed out that the ski areas with huge investment are facing the problem that it only can be profitable within half of the year. He suggested that a strategic transformation could be made from ski resorts operated in winter to holiday resorts operated in four seasons, providing touring cable cars, specialty cuisine and various sports events, so as to realize the four-season operation.
In appreciation of IMTA for its contribution to the development of mountain tourism and Nepal’s tourism, Mohan Krishna Sapkota, the Secretory of Ministry of Cultural, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal was sent by Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agents to issue certificate to IMTA.
In the dialogue, with the China-Nepal characteristic songs and dances, Mr. Zheng Xu, the Head of the Delegation of Guizhou Provincial Government, and Mr. Achyut Guragain, the 1st Vice President of NATTA, respectively represented Nepal and Guizhou Provinces in the promotion of mountain cultural tourism.
Mr. Zheng Xu said that Guizhou is located in the southwest of China, connecting South and Central China. Longitudinally, it is an important link between the silk road on the land and the silk road on the sea in Western China. Horizontally, it is the middle zone between the Yangtze River economic belt and the Pearl River-Xijiang economic belt in China’s national strategic layout. Guizhou has enriched tourism resources, includes four world natural heritage sites, one world cultural heritage site, 18 national scenic spots, 9 national nature reserves, 8 national geological parks and 22 national forest parks. Mr. Zheng Xu sent out a cordial invitation to the guests: Make an appointment at the mountain park province and experience the colorful Guizhou flavour.
Subsequently, Ms. Nandini Lahe Thapa, the Senior Director – Tourism Marketing and Promotion at the Nepal Tourism Board, and Member Secretary of the Visit Nepal 2020 Campaign delivered a speech about Visit Nepal Year 2020. She said that Nepal has not only mountains, but also many cultural industries, wildlife and religious activities. Ms. Nandini Lahe Thapa mentioned that the investment of seven provinces in Nepal has been growing, the tourism of that has been developing and the infrastructure of that has also been constantly building, which will attract more tourists to Nepal and make Nepal more globalized.
In the subsequent promotion, Mr. Achyut Guragain, the 1st Vice President of NATTA, introduced Nepal’s tourism resources. He said that Nepal was the birthplace of Buddhism and one of the countries that are civilized by religion, where religion and civilization develop harmoniously. He suggested that we should protect some traditional activities that attract tourists, and there are many festivals in the culture. Nepal has many splendid cultural heritage between China and India, which we should protect.
And then, Mr. Li Keqi, the Founder of Shanghai iDriver Media, delivered a speech on the most beautiful self-driving Highway in China – G318 Must Go In Your Life; Mr. Wu Mai, the Deputy Secretary General of IMTA, awarded the couple, Mr. Cai Li and Ms. Li Xiaoyan the Memorial Certificate of Self-driving Cultural Communication in China-Nepal Mountains, expressing respect to their efforts to spread the tourism culture of mountain highway. The couple, Cai Li and Li Xiaoyan left Shanghai on March 18 and arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal on the First International Mountain Tourism Day on May 29. They completed the self-driving of 318 National Highway within 70 days.
Additionally, Mr. Rahman Mukhlis, the Secretary-General of Indonesian Mountain Guide Association; Mr. Moal Frederic, the CEO of X-CITY; Mr. Tong Dapeng, the Vice President of China Huway.com, and Mr. Zhu Xi, the General Manager of Guizhou China Youth Travel Services, delivered speeches on their respective themes, introducing how to integrate the resources of destination scenic spots through IP with global high-quality outdoor sports activities, and analyzing current market demand and resource integration space of mountain tourism.
The event attracted more than 250 participants from IMTA, the Delegation of Guizhou Provincial Government, Guizhou Tourism Association, Nepal Tourism Board and relevant departments, leaders and members of Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agents, guests from relevant industries in India, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos and representatives of Chinese enterprises in Nepal. Through the launching ceremony, theme forum and other links, it explored the new future of high-quality development of mountain tourism led by ecology, green, science and technology, and product sharing and cultural exhibition, such as Nepalese traditional dances, toast songs of Miao nationality in Guizhou, world famous mountain photography exhibition and China-Nepal intangible cultural and handicraft exhibition, also brought a feast with exquisiteness deliciousness of the highest quality for the guests to promote the exchange and dialogue among different cultures.
Meanwhile, the event has been widely disseminated in more than 400 medias at home and abroad, which is of great significance to disseminate the spirit of mountain tourism and the concept of ecological tourism and seek sustainable development of mountain ecology. The establishment of International Mountain Tourism Day will also have a far-reaching impact on the protection of mountain tourism resources, the promotion of international exchanges and business cooperation represented by tourism, the summary of successful experiences in the development of mountain tourism, and the boost of economic, cultural and social prosperity in mountain areas.