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Too much, too loud, too crowded

Oct 05, 2023 / Veronika Hribernik, CIPRA International
From the tunnel blockade in Hallstatt/A to the protest rally on the Sella Pass/I: civil society is protesting against overtourism in the Alpine regions – and demanding relief for people and the environment.
Image caption:
Residents of Hallstatt/A demand radical limits on mass tourism. © Citizens' List Hallstatt

At the end of August 2023, a faction of the local municipal council blocked the tunnel entrance to Hallstatt/A, aiming to send a signal to protest against mass tourism and high traffic volumes. They demanded a pre-registration system for the cars that stop in the village every day, an increase in parking fees and quiet periods in the low season and at night. Up to 10,000 people visit the little village in the Salzkammergut on peak days: at another protest held at the end of September, the demonstrators claimed that this to be unbearable.

A few weeks earlier, a protest rally took place on the Sella Pass in the Dolomites/I under the motto “Ruhe statt Rummel [Calm not Commotion]”. The Alpine clubs of South Tyrol, Italy, Austria and Germany demanded a respite for the mountain world, as every day sees thousands of cars and motorbikes crossing the Alpine pass between Italy’s Gardena and Fassa valleys. The general view is that the limits have been reached, both for nature and for the local population. The protestors are also demanding an end to further expansion of tourist projects in the mountains.

With drunks at Lake Bled/SL, soap opera fans at Iseltwald/CH, or photo hunters at the Pragser Wildsee/I, destinations such as these are under considerable pressure. While tourism is important for the local economy in many Alpine regions, calls for restrictions and bans are getting louder: there have already been many protests throughout the Alps. The current CIPRA project “speciAlps Podcast. How to better manage visitor flows in sensitive areas of the Alps” (de, fr, it, sl) also addresses this issue. Multilingual podcast episodes and a webinar aim to contribute to pan-Alpine networking and cross-border exchanges of knowledge.

Further sources: (de), (de), (de), (de), (sl), / (de), (de), (fr), (it)