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Guiding visitors, preserving the natural experience

Mar 01, 2024 / Michael Gams, CIPRA International
From artificial intelligence and the last kilometre to carrying capacity limits and nudging: the speciAlps podcast series and a webinar delve deeper into the topic of visitor guidance for a wide audience.
Image caption:
The beauty of the Alps (still) knows no bounds. The SpeciAlps podcasts discuss and analyse the fine line between the capacity to accommodate visitors and the preservation of beautiful, natural experiences. © Michael Gams

For the CIPRA project “speciAlps Podcast: Guiding visitors, preserving the natural experience”, five podcasts were produced in English and the Alpine languages of German, French, Italian and Slovenian. They are now all available to listeners.

The first podcast episode (en, sl) explores the question of how artificial intelligence (AI) can help guide visitors away from sensitive or congested places. Car, train or bus: the choice of transport for travelling to the mountains plays an important role in visitor management, as the second podcast episode (en, fr) shows. How can visitors to sensitive natural areas in the Alps be encouraged to behave respectfully without bans or financial incentives? Around 150 participants in the webinar “Nudging in Alpine tourism”, held in September 2023, discussed the role that behavioural psychology plays in this. The third podcast episode (en, de) reports on this, among other things. In many destinations, the number of visitors is increasing rapidly, which in turn is putting pressure on local infrastructure, the environment and the population. The fourth podcast episode (en, it) is therefore dedicated to the limits of carrying capacity in mountain tourism.

The right to nature

What are so-called quiet zones in the mountains? What are the limits to the use of drinking water for snow production? What legal problems arise from chalet villages? What role can the “Tourism Protocol” of the Alpine Convention, signed by all Alpine states 25 years ago, play? These and other questions are addressed in the fifth and final podcast episode. The Alpine Convention is a treaty under international law on the comprehensive protection and sustainable development of the Alps.

To listen to all podcast episodes and for information on the project see: