Hallstatt in Upper Austria

Tuesday, 22 August 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

© C.Stadler/Bwag/cc-by-sa-4.0

© C.Stadler/Bwag/cc-by-sa-4.0

Hallstatt is a small town in the district of Gmunden, in the Austrian state of Upper Austria. Situated between the southwestern shore of Hallstätter See and the steep slopes of the Dachstein massif, the town lies in the Salzkammergut region, on the national road linking Salzburg and Graz.

Hallstatt is known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times, and gave its name to the Hallstatt culture, the archaeological culture linked to Proto-Celtic and early Celtic people of the Early Iron Age in Europe, c. 800–450 BC. The Hallstatt salt mine is the world’s oldest working salt mine. The mine is located within the Upper Permian to Lower Triassic Haselgebirge Formation of the Northern Limestone Alps. The Hallstatt salt mine comprises 21 levels and several smaller shafts ranging from 514 m above sea level (Erbstollen level) to an elevation of around 1267 m (Erzherzog Matthias Schurf level).

Hallstatt is at the core of the Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape declared as one of the World Heritage Sites in Austria by UNESCO in 1997. It is an area of overtourism.

© chensiyuan/cc-by-sa-4.0 © C.Stadler/Bwag/cc-by-sa-4.0 © flickr.com - Max Dawncat/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Max Dawncat/cc-by-2.0 © Andrew Bossi/cc-by-sa-2.5 Market Square - Andrew Bossi/cc-by-sa-2.5 © flickr.com - Kent Wang/cc-by-sa-2.0 © flickr.com - Kent Wang/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Ioan Sendroiu
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Market Square - Andrew Bossi/cc-by-sa-2.5
The problems and opportunities of greatly-increased tourism in Hallstatt were covered by The Washington Post in August 2019. Halstatt’s tourism began in the 19th century but greatly increased after it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. It became popular among East Asian tourists in 2006 when it was featured on a South Korean television show.

Social media images of Hallstatt, captioned “the most Instagrammable town in the world,” went viral in Eastern and Southeast Asia. A replica was planned and then built in China in 2011 in Huizhou, Guangdong province, Hallstatt’s twin town. In 2013 it was rumored in China to be the model for the movie Frozens Arendelle village. By 2017 local churches were employing bouncers to prevent services being disrupted by tourists. In 2020 the town had a population of 780, and estimates of 10,000 to nearly 30,000 tourists per day, primarily via bus tours which bring tourists briefly into the town for photo opportunities, then quickly move on.

Hallstatt’s economy depends on tourism, but according to locals the day-visitors drive away tourists who would stay longer. Hallstatt became the prime example of overtourism in Austria and led to controversies around limiting the number of tourists. The Austrian Public Broadcasting Organization made multiple documentaries about the situation. The town in 2020 focused on “quality” tourism. From fall 2020 there will be assigned time slots for tour buses to cope with the problem. The arrivals will be limited to 54 per day, which is about half of the current number. Buses with an overnight booking in the town will receive preference.

Read more on Hallstatt, Wikivoyage Hallstatt and Wikipedia Hallstatt (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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