Home » Hallstatt: Austrian Town Protests Against Mass Tourism
Europe European Union Featured Global News News Tourism Travel World News

Hallstatt: Austrian Town Protests Against Mass Tourism

Locals in the Austrian town of Hallstatt have taken part in a protest against mass tourism. Hallstatt, which is a World Heritage Site, has just over 700 inhabitants – but gets up to as many as 10,000 visitors a day during high season.

Residents are calling for limits on the number of daily tourists, and for a ban on tour buses after 17:00 local time. While tourism has been good for Hallstatt’s economy, some locals say there are simply too many visitors.

Hallstatt, with its picturesque old houses on the shores of a pristine Alpine lake surrounded by craggy mountains, has become a tourism hotspot in recent years. In 2006, it featured in a South Korean romantic drama – boosting its popularity in Asia – with a replica of the town being built in China six years later.

Many visitors come in search of the perfect selfie, with the lake, the slim pale grey church tower and the stunning mountain scenery as a backdrop. As one of Europe’s most over-touristed destinations some locals say there are simply too many visitors, especially day trippers, who are bused into town in large coaches.

For now, like Venice and other places affected by what’s known as over-tourism, it looks as if Hallstatt will have to endure the mixed blessings of its popularity.

A tourist takes photos in the town center in Hallstatt

In May this year, residents briefly erected a wooden wall on the most popular spot to take selfies, blocking the view of the Alps, in protest against noise pollution and traffic. After a backlash on social media, it was removed.

Back then, the mayor of the town said he wanted to reduce the number of buses that pass through Hallstatt by a third. Hallstatt received about a million visitors a year before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation