Universität Innsbruck



touRES - Resilience of tourism systems to natural hazards in the Himalayas

Mountain regions are good examples of complex social-ecological systems as they have remained highly vulnerable to natural hazards due to their active bio- and geophysical environment intensified human use and poor hazard prevention and management. The Himalayan region is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide with nature-based tourism in parks and protected areas being the most important tourism sector. But nature-based tourism in the Himalayas is challenged by a number of natural hazard processes with often vague future dynamics under conditions of global climate change. Thus, being able to anticipate, proactively cope with and recover from these hazard processes finally represents a major step towards sustainable mountain development.

The overall aim of our project is to enhance the understanding of resilience of tourism entrepreneurs to natural hazards in mountain regions. In addition, the project provides practical relevance by creating a participatory platform to discuss local needs and possible recommendations related to tourism and natural hazard management. Using empirical evidence from two case study sites in Nepal, the project is analysing selected tourism systems and assessing natural hazard processes.

The following research questions are addressed within this project:

  • Question 1: What actors and resources constitute the local tourism system in the two case study sites and how are they functionally interlinked?
  • Question 2: Which natural hazards occurred in the past and what are plausible future hazard scenarios for both case study sites?
  • Question 3: How do institutional arrangements influence natural resource and hazard management practices?
  • Question 4: How can resilience of tourism entrepreneurs to natural hazards in the two case study sites be conceptualized?
  • Question 5: What recommendations can be drawn to enhance the resilience of tourism enterprises to natural hazards in the Himalaya region?

The research is using a case study site approach and focusing on four rural municipalities in two popular tourist destinations in Nepal (in Annapurna Conservation Area and Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone). Several methodologies from empirical social studies are applied (e.g. narrative interviews, quantitative surveys, social-ecological mapping) as well as geomorphological hazard analysis (e.g. remote sensing analysis).

Our study sites:


Project data:

  • Duration: 01.04.2017 – 31.12.2020
  • Funding Authority: Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)

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