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Austrian villagers protest against mass tourism

Austrian villagers protest against mass tourism

Residents of the picturesque Austrian village of Hallstatt have staged a protest against mass tourism.

The lakeside village - which has been described as the inspiration for the Arendelle setting of Disney's 'Frozen' - has a population of just 800 but gets up to 10,000 visitors per day during the height of season.

In response, locals blocked the main access tunnel to the village in a protest against over-tourism last Sunday (27.08.23).

The Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten reported that the tunnel was closed for 15 minutes as 100 people gathered for the protest.

The protestors carried placards with slogans including 'Now an emergency brake. Or we will be run over' and 'Think of our children'.

Residents want a cap on the number of daily visitors to be introduced and a 5pm curfew to be put in place for tour buses.

Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has seen a tourism boom in recent years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it only saw approximately a million visitors per year.

Exasperated locals put up an "anti-selfie fence" earlier this year, blocking part of the mountain views to discourage tourists and the noise pollution they create. It was later taken down.

Many visitors come to Hallstatt in a quest for the perfect selfie and the popularity of the village was fuelled by its appearance in the South Korean TV series 'Spring Waltz' in 2006.

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