Examining the resilience and adaptive capacity of mountain resort destinations: Moving beyond the sustainability efforts of mountain resorts

Authors: Natalie Ooi*, Colorado State University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Mountain Environments, Rural Geography
Keywords: mountain resort tourism, resilience, adaptive capacity, destination-level, sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Within the mountain resort industry, there is increased focus on the importance of diversification and improved sustainability of operations to help reduce resort vulnerability in what are increasingly unpredictable mountain environments. However, much of this focus appears largely at the resort level, with limited recognition of the importance of building resiliency and adaptive capacity at the destination level. This is despite the inter-dependency of mountain resorts, the fragile alpine environments in which they operate, and the communities that reside within. This paper presents an initial argument for the need to move the focus from sustainable (largely environmental) initiatives at a resort level, to a more holistic approach to destination management, with the future success of mountain resorts dependent upon the resilience of the entire socio-ecological system (SES) of which it is a part. What appears necessary is a deeper understanding and appreciation of all factors that are contributing to instability, vulnerability, and volatility within these destinations, combined with a willingness for key actors to partner, innovate, and collaborate to address what are ultimately destination-level challenges and disruptions. By seeking to improve the resilience and the adaptive capacity of a destination, the focus is shifted from improving the stability of individual key players, to strengthening the overall functioning of the destination – an approach that will likely lead to more positive outcomes for mountain resort destinations as a whole.

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