Tourism operators and local policymakers are more and more concerned about the negative effects deriving from climate change on the winter season, when considering ski-related tourism. The principal adapted strategy used for coping with this phenomenon, snowmaking, has shown not to be a reliable instrument for the low altitude mountain winter tourism destinations, opening a debate on the possibility of closing the installations or converting them into innovative types of tourism offerings. This contribution presents the case study of a new downhill installation inaugurated on July 1, 2017 in Valprato Soana (1.550 m), a mountain municipality in the northwest Italian Alps (Soana Valley, Piedmont Region). Built in 2010 for boosting ski tourism in this area, the chair lift has never been used in the winter season due to several factors, in primis the climate change, forcing the municipality of Valprato Soana to think about innovative uses, particularly as a downhill bike park. After two summer seasons, this study presents some provisional results on the economic implications deriving from the mountain bikers’ behaviour in order to assess the economic return on the host community as well as the mountain bikers’ perception of the social and environmental aspects of this sport activity. Thanks to an online questionnaire created with the Google Module platform, provisional results (n=54) show that the downhill mountain bikers cluster performs a “hit and run” form of tourism, not giving substantial economic benefits to the local tourism operators nor to the host community. Nevertheless, the installation can attract new tourists that affirm to be interested in the local offer, especially when connected to the natural and cultural heritage. The results might offer useful information to the local policymakers for managing future investments for integrating downhill activity in the Soana Valley’s tourism proposal and enriching the downhill site of added services.

Sport facilities, tourism innovation, and territorial development: Provisional results of a new downhill installation in the Italian Alps

Stefano Duglio
2020-01-01

Abstract

Tourism operators and local policymakers are more and more concerned about the negative effects deriving from climate change on the winter season, when considering ski-related tourism. The principal adapted strategy used for coping with this phenomenon, snowmaking, has shown not to be a reliable instrument for the low altitude mountain winter tourism destinations, opening a debate on the possibility of closing the installations or converting them into innovative types of tourism offerings. This contribution presents the case study of a new downhill installation inaugurated on July 1, 2017 in Valprato Soana (1.550 m), a mountain municipality in the northwest Italian Alps (Soana Valley, Piedmont Region). Built in 2010 for boosting ski tourism in this area, the chair lift has never been used in the winter season due to several factors, in primis the climate change, forcing the municipality of Valprato Soana to think about innovative uses, particularly as a downhill bike park. After two summer seasons, this study presents some provisional results on the economic implications deriving from the mountain bikers’ behaviour in order to assess the economic return on the host community as well as the mountain bikers’ perception of the social and environmental aspects of this sport activity. Thanks to an online questionnaire created with the Google Module platform, provisional results (n=54) show that the downhill mountain bikers cluster performs a “hit and run” form of tourism, not giving substantial economic benefits to the local tourism operators nor to the host community. Nevertheless, the installation can attract new tourists that affirm to be interested in the local offer, especially when connected to the natural and cultural heritage. The results might offer useful information to the local policymakers for managing future investments for integrating downhill activity in the Soana Valley’s tourism proposal and enriching the downhill site of added services.
Entrepreneurship, innovation and inequality: Exploring territorial dynamics and development
Routledge
Routledge Frontiers of Business Management
1
8
27
9780367263218
Mountain tourism, tourism innovation, mountain biking, downhill, economic implications
Stefano Duglio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1703853
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