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Economic activity in mountain areas

Mar 12, 2017
What can – and cannot – mountain areas do? Two new studies from Germany and Switzerland show the opportunities and weaknesses of regional economies and demonstrate that mountain areas can help in determining their own economic future.
Image caption:
Berchtesgaden in Germany is the gateway to the national park. © Sergiu Bacioiu_flickr

A study on the regional economic effects of tourism, produced by the University of Würzburg in Germany, underlines the significance of the Berchtesgaden national park for the local economy. This large-scale study involved over 11,000 interviews in the region, asking for example how many local people derive their income solely from tourists. The national park generates gross annual turnover of some 94 million euros and thus makes a large and lasting contribution to the regional economy, while at the same time helping preserve the natural heritage.

A further recent study published by the Swiss think-tank “Avenir Suisse” sheds light on the structural changes in Swiss mountain areas. This study, among other things, investigates how existing sources of value creation can be strengthened and new ones activated. The authors stress the importance of new approaches, for example how external resources are mobilised. This means individuals such as holiday-home owners or employees who could play a greater role. The core message is that the economic future of mountain areas is not a matter of topographic fate, but can also be determined by the areas themselves. Innovative leasing models for existing infrastructure could serve to create an added value chain and generate resources for the renovation of older properties.


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