The Mountain Environment

by Mandy Barrow

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Tourism and Mountains

skierMountains can aid tourism and bring in money for the people who live there.

More than 50 million people visit mountains each year.

Many mountain towns around the world depend on tourists to support them. People in the town provide food and lodging for tourists who come to enjoy the nearby mountains.

Did you know?

About 13 million people live in the Alps.
About 100 million visitors visit the Alps each year.

Mountains can be places for leisure activities. Many people like to ski on mountains. Other people like to climb mountains. Some people like to just visit mountains to take photos and admire their beauty.

Tourists are attracted to mountains for many reasons:

  • the climate and clean air,
  • varied topography,
  • beautiful scenery,
  • local traditions,
  • simple life styles,
  • sports that require steep slopes or winter snow

Sport-based tourism has boomed over the past 30 years

Typical mountain activities

  • Mountaineering,
  • Paragliding,

Summer Activities

  • walking,
  • hiking,
  • bird watching
  • rafting,
  • Mountain Biking

Winter Activities

  • skiing,
  • snow boarding,
  • Sledging / Tobboganing
  • Icefall climbing
  • Snow-Shoe Trekking
  • Winter walking
  • Ice skating

Impact of Tourism on the Environment

Although tourism has it advantages it can have serious impact on the environment, the people who live there and the local economy. As more and more people visit the mountains, whether to climb or simply to trek through the valleys, the chances of the environment being permanently damaged become ever greater.

Advantages of Tourism

  • Creates jobs
  • Encourages local crafts
  • Improved living standards

Disadvantages of Tourism

  • Higher prices of land and food
  • Pollution from traffic
  • Erosion
  • Litter
  • More crowded
  • Trees felled to supply timber and fuel wood
  • Lost of cultural identity among the mountain people

Further information

BBC News - Getting on top of Everest Rubbish article about efforts to clean up the debris from expeditions to the peak.

News story about cleaning up the camps around K2

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