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An Alpine "arms race": the desire for fun and games

Dec 12, 2012 / alpMedia
Europe's highest suspension bridge is being opened in Switzerland, while an Austrian peak is getting a four-armed cross that is accessible to visitors - unbelievable adventures in the Alps.
Image caption:
Desire of visitors to experience fun and games: attractions and productions of this kind are supposed to boost tourism. Aren't nature and landscapes enough? © Hechenblaikner
Tourism in many Alpine ski resorts is suffering from a drop in the number of overnight stays and a lack of snow: for example St. Jakob in Haus, near Kitzbühel in Austria, where a large majority of the 770 inhabitants have just voted for a timber construction that is intended to attract tourists throughout the year. This will be a 36-metre high wooden sculpture, costing 1.5 million euros, that visitors can climb up. The arms of the cross will have a span of 19 metres.
Similar to this gigantic Jacob's cross, the recently opened rope suspension bridge at an altitude of over 3000 metres on Mount Titlis in Switzerland has little to do with "soft" tourism. "Today's visitors are looking for entertainment, fun and adventure. The new rope suspension bridge is a great addition to the existing offers on Mount Titlis, such as the glacier park, glacier cave, the clock shop and the numerous restaurants", enthuses the Engelberg-Gerschnialp mountain railway about the 1.1 million euro bridge. Guests will supposedly be brought closer to the Alps and be impressed by the depth, width and power of the mountains.
This "arms race" between tourist areas and the desire of visitors to experience fun and games is currently the subject of Lois Hechenblaikner's photo exhibition "Intensivstationen [Intensive Care Units]" at the Alpine Museum in Bern. This is not however being welcomed by all holiday regions, for example South Tyrol, where no museum wants to put on the exhibition for the time being.
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