The Covid-19 pandemic led to several changes in the protected areas’ visitor flows from what we had expected at the beginning of the year. A significant reduction in outdoor activities during the lockdown period was followed by a rising demand for nature-based tourism in the summer season. The alpine protected areas had to adapt to these changes, particularly by increasing awareness raising actions on correct behavior in the mountains.
These elements were discussed during the workshop "Tourism in the Protected Areas of the Alps - Opportunities and Challenges in a Changing Context" held online on December 14th, 2020. The workshop brought together nearly 50 participants, including the responsible for the tourism activities in the protected areas as well as several experts. The event was an opportunity to discuss not only experiences but also specific needs for the future of sustainable tourism in protected areas.
The results of a survey on the impact of the pandemic on tourist flows in protected areas, conducted by ALPARC between the summer and autumn were presented and accompanied by the experiences from Berchtesgaden National Park and the Gran Paradiso National Park.
Moreover, some of the organizations that signed the charter of the awareness campaign "Be Part of the Mountain" shared their experiences. The Ossola Park (Italy) presented in detail the project developed in this framework, including the use of the logo and training for guides and mountain guides. The Vanoise National Park (France) presented the progress in the involvement of ambassadors, while the Regional Natural Park of the Massif des Bauges (France) showed, among other elements, some videos of awareness on the impact of nature sports on wildlife made during the year 2020. The Nature Park of Nagelfluhkette (Germany) then highlighted the key role of monitor guards in managing correct information on the subject, especially via social networks.
At present 12 organizations signed the “Be Part of the Mountain” charter. In 2020, two new French organizations have expressed their interest to promote the campaign by joining the initiative as members. These are: the National Union of Mountain Guides SNGM (charter signed on 22.04.2020) and the Hautes Alpes departmental section of the French Federation of Alpine Clubs FFCAM (charter signed on 08.10.2020).