Enchanting views, fairytale landscapes, high peaks, lovely valleys. Peace and nature invite you to escape the hectic pace of everyday life. The appeal of the mountains is enormous, but with approximately 120 million holidaymakers traveling to the Alps every year, it also makes it one of the most visited tourist areas in the world. And all those tourists have consequences for nature and climate. However, these areas desperately need tourists in order to survive economically. Residents of these areas are largely dependent on the income they generate from tourism. The loss of this source of income has major consequences for their future. The (ski) areas invest millions of euros to continue to exploit the area and to combat the effects of climate change. With a global warming of 2 degrees, areas below 1500 meters will be virtually without snow. Investments continue to be made in the areas, including building higher slopes and developing advanced equipment for making artificial snow to compensate for the shortage of natural snowfall. A ski area is classified as "snow reliable" if it can offer an uninterrupted ski season of 100 days, with at least 30 cm of snow, in seven of the ten seasons. The human intervention on nature is therefore enormous. And in order to earn back the investments, we are also fully committed to attracting summer tourism.
It is a delicate balance between climate problems and the interests of tourism.
How tenable is this situation and where is the tipping point that the equilibrium is disrupted to such an extent that this situation is untenable. The high mountains were once the reason for people to find peace and relaxation there, but now seem to be the battleground of industrial tourism and climate crisis.
Milan Schellingerhout - Copyright 2022 ︎︎