Hallstatt, the enchanting Austrian town that inspired the kingdom of
Arendelle in Disney's blockbuster movie Frozen, found itself at the
centre of a battle against overtourism.
Seeking respite from the hordes of selfie-snapping tourists, local
authorities decided to install wooden fences to block the iconic
lakeside views that have become a hotspot for visitors seeking the
perfect shot. However, the fences proved to be short-lived, as they were
quickly taken down following a social media outcry.
With over a million tourists flocking to Hallstatt each year, the
idyllic town's popularity has skyrocketed. Its breathtaking scenery and
picturesque charm have captivated travellers from around the globe. But
for the town's 780 residents, the influx of visitors has become
overwhelming, disrupting the peace and tranquility they once enjoyed.
Mayor Alexander Scheutz acknowledged the locals' desire for a quieter
existence and had hoped the fences would discourage excessive
picture-taking and alleviate some of the crowding issues. However, the
move received mixed reactions, prompting a rethink of the strategy.
In a lighthearted twist, Mayor Scheutz decided to replace the fences
with a banner, serving as a gentle reminder to tourists that Hallstatt
is not just a photo backdrop but a living community. The banner aims to
foster a sense of consideration and respect for the town's inhabitants
while allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.
Hallstatt's battle against overtourism is not unique. Portofino, a
charming fishing village in Italy, has also faced similar challenges.
The introduction of no-waiting zones and €275 (US$297) fines for
loitering in popular photo spots aims to strike a balance between
welcoming tourists and preserving the town's essence.
As destinations grapple with the impact of overtourism, finding the
right solutions is a delicate balancing act. Hallstatt and Portofino
serve as reminders that sustainable tourism requires a mutual
understanding between visitors and locals.