FATPA, the Federation of Aragonese Pyrenees Tourism Associations, is the promoter of the Mountain Tourism Cluster, an inniative which intends to define and implement an economic development model for the mountain tourism industry.
Mountains are important assets for the tourism industry. Protected natural areas, which were traditionally isolated environments have now been converted into tourist destinations, largely dependent on tourism activities. The tourist products offered (adventure sports, relax, rural or cultural tourism…) are related to the weather and the mountain characteristics. In winter, ski resorts are the driving force for mountain tourism development. Mountain areas share similar characteristics with rural areas, except for the massification of skiing, where large numbers of people concentrate in relatively small areas.
The current challenges for mountain tourism at a global level are:
- To rely on new technologies and innovation as the key success factor.
- To diversify tourism activities and services.
- To implement strategies and develop products for the summer season.
- To analyze new tourism destinations and examine their new business models.
- To improve knowledge transfer, ensuring the quality of development.
- To focus on the preservation of the territory, which is essential for a sustainable development.
According to the data published by the United Nations (within the framework of the International Year of Mountains in 2002), tourism accounts for 15% to 20% of total global tourism revenues, that is to say, between $70.000 and $80.000 dollars a year. The Alps alone generate 7% to 10% of the annual revenue.
Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe. About 24% of the total surface of the country is more than 1.000 metres above sea level, and about 76% between 500 and 1.000 metres.
The center of Spain forms a vast plateau, (Meseta Central), traversed by two mountain chains: the Central System, with elevations of 2.500 metres and the Toledo Mounts, at a lower elevation. It is surrounded by other mountain ranges: in the north-west we find the León Mountains and the Galician Massif, the Cantabrian Mountains to the north, the Iberian System to the east and Sierra Morena to the southern edge of the plateau. Besides, there are three peripheral mountain chains: the Pyreenees, the Basque Mountainss and the Betic System.
In this geographic context, the mountain tourism cluster is created with the aim to engage Spanish companies and institutions in innovative mountain tourism projects. Therefore, the cluster seeks to facilitate market development, to promote research in this field and to transfer the research results into marketable products and services to improve companies’ strategies.
Our mission: To take the lead in coordinating efforts in order to improve business competitiveness and mountain sustainability, and to promote creativity, technology, innovation, cooperation, public-private partnership and territorial cohesion.
Vision: To promote a mountain tourism based on innovation and able to adjust rapidly to the changing demand, in the national and international market, in order to become a reference in the sector.
The mission and objectives above are translated into the following strategic objectives:
• To adjust the offer to the new demand.
• To end the seasonality of tourism by promoting all-season tourism.
• To internationalize the activity.
• To redesign business models to become more competitive.
• To improve innovative capacity in the sector.
• To foster partnerships.
• To promote the use of new technologies.
• To enhance social, economic and environmental sustainability in the tourism sector.
• To move towards higher cohesion.
• To recover the leadership role.
The lines of action, deriving from the objectives, are grouped into different areas to facilitate the understanding, communication and development of the plan. Based on the lines of action specific actions and projects can be set for the period 2012-2015.
5 lines of action have been defined within the cluster’s strategic framework:
• Customer orientation and experience creation. We need to put the focus on the tourists, to increase the understanding of their interests and to create customized experiences.
• Market development (marketing, promotion and internazionalisation).A current challenge that companies are facing: making the product visible, adapting to the new form of marketing and moving toward internationalization.
• Innovative, secure and smart destination. Business and their environments need to incorporate vital elements, such as innovation, new technologies and security.
• Economic, social and environmental sustainability. We must work to ensure the sustainability of the business and the activities.
• AEI (Innovative Companies Group) consolidation. The creation and consolidation of the cluster must bring about a change in the working methods in the sector.