Is Austrian town of Hallstatt suffering from overtourism due to link with Disney’s Frozen?

A small community in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region has been forced to introduce measures to curb tourism because it says too many people are visiting the town.

Hallstatt, an Alpine town with a population of 780, is not only famed for its historic saltmines and fairytale scenery, but it is also said to be the inspiration for the setting of Disney’s ‘Frozen’ movies.

It has attracted millions of people all over the world – but this consistent tourism has over time “deteriorated” the quality of life for its locals, according to the mayor.

Speaking to Euronews, Hallstatt mayor Alexander Scheutz said local authorities were now introducing new measures to bring the amount of footfall under control.

“The tourists who come to us from all over the world are well behaved and very friendly but there are too many,” he said.

“Too many day visitors,” he added, “come to Hallstatt in coaches and a lot of cars.”

In 2014, a total of 7,917 buses visited the town, which pales in comparison to the 21,254 buses that visited last year.

This brings the total to more than a million day visitors per year, Scheutz said.

The number of overnight stays in the town have also doubled since 2010 from 70,902 to 145,260 in 2019.

As a result, the town will be limiting the number of coaches allowed into the town from May and placing other stipulations on day visits.

Scheutz said: “The bus operators have to book the trip to Hallstatt in advance.

“If too many register and all bookings are full, you can no longer come by bus on that day. If you want to come by bus you have to book (and stay) at least two hours and twenty minutes otherwise you cannot book or come.

“With this system we will significantly reduce the number of coaches.”

Looking past the burden of responding to overtourism, Scheutz has remained positive about the changes it has brought to the local economy and for employment.

And in a short message to future visitors, he said: “We are happy that you came to Hallstatt and we ask you to take enough time to see the place and its sights.

“Hallstatt is too attractive to just walk quickly and drive away quickly (to the next hotspot). For Hallstatt, you should take your time and bring your appreciation towards the population.”

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