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Ill-timed winter tourism developments throughout the Alps

New areas are still being developed for ski tourism In the Alps – without regard for nature or landscape. © CIPRA

Despite rising temperatures and doubts about profitability, some Alpine regions are building new winter sports facilities. But who will pay the bill?

In the municipality of Bohinj, at an altitude of 1500 metres, there are now plans to build Slovenia’s first cable car system designed to run all year round, with new sports and leisure facilities to be constructed on an area covering 150 hectares. Initiators, including the world’s second largest cable car operator, are hoping for financial support from the Slovenian government. The nearby ski resort of Kobla is meanwhile in decline.

The project was approved government in August 2014, despite many issues remaining unresolved. What about the longer term economic prospects? Will a ski area of this size and at this altitude still be viable in the future, given the rise in temperatures?

On the other side of the Alps, in Italy’s Aosta Valley, a new ski area is also being planned to connect the existing ski areas of Monte Rosa and Cervino-Matterhorn. This would damage a hitherto unspoilt landscape. Nature conservation organisations in Italy are calling for other regional development models and alternatives to the monoculture of Alpine ski tourism. The project’s profitability is also being called into question: the planned link between the ski resorts will cost 65 million euros, and already one of the contractors involved, Monterosa Ski, has had to be subsidised by the Region to be able to continue to operate its existing facilities. In addition to the ski area, the necessary tourism infrastructure, such as hotels and roads, would have to be built from scratch.

Source and further information: CIPRA Italia, CIPRA Slovenija, Bohinjske novice št. 9

http://www.gore-ljudje.net/informacije/112115/ (sl), http://www.24ur.com/novice/gospodarstvo/investitor-dobil-gradbeno-dovoljenje-najvecje-smucisce-v-sloveniji-naj-bi-zazivelo-ze-letos.html (sl), http://www.dislivelli.eu/blog/cime-bianche-no-sweet.html (it), http://www.loscarpone.cai.it/news/items/il-coordinamento-noi-nelle-alpi-contrario-ad-un-nuovo-collegamento-funiviario-sul-monte-rosa.html (it)