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Austrian Town Locals Block Tunnel to Shield Over Tourism

Residents of Hallstatt, a small town in the district of Gmunden located in upper Austria, have called for limitations on the mass tourism they have been experiencing. The town is rumoured to have been the inspiration for Dinsey’s ‘Frozen’ which has sparked 10,000 daily sightseers during peak seasons in comparison to the town’s permanent population of just 800. Residents Responses: About 100 local activists protested blocking a tunnel through which the main road into the town runs, preventing any tourists from entering in its busiest months. Protestors signs presented various messages including “radical limits for mass tourism”, “tourism yes- mass tourism no”, and “visitors’ limitation, reclaim habitat” displaying their clear frustration with the extent of tourism they, as a town, are undergoing. They called for set limitations on the number of tourists that visit daily and a ban on the arrival of tour buses after 5pm. A wooden wall was later built by residents in order to block views for tourists consequently from the noise pollution and traffic the extreme tourism bought to the Austrian town. Wider Responses: The protest sparked online backlash on social media resulting in the wall that was installed by locals to be immediately removed. Though others who have visited Hallstatt agreed with the locals by saying “the Hallstatt is a tourist nightmare” paired with a photograph filled with tourists. Despite this, many still visit the Austrian village as records show that it is becoming a tourist hotspot in recent years due to its featuring in films and historic landscape.

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