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Lauterbrunnen In Switzerland Battling Overtourism, Could Introduce Entry Fee

Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland is fighting overtourism
Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland is fighting overtourism [Image by Andrzej from Pixabay]
Many popular destinations in Europe are introducing measures to combat overtourism, including Venice, Amsterdam and Barcelona. However, another popular location, this time in Switzerland, is also battling against two many tourists. Lauterbrunnun is considering introducing a tourist tax to visit the village, which is popular on social media due to its charm and the nearby scenic Straubbach Falls.

The village of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland considers tourist tax

Lauterbrunnun's scenic Straubbach Falls.
Lauterbrunnun’s scenic Straubbach Falls [Image by Andrzej from Pixabay]
Sometimes, popularity on social media can cause problems and this is the case with the quaint village of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. So many people have shared photos on Instagram of its scenic wonders that the town is now receiving too many visitors.

The small village has a population of 2,400, but this number is pushed over the limit in vacation time. Lately, so many tourists are visiting, often to photograph the village for Instagram and this has had a negative effect on Lauterbrunnen. The town is overrun by tourists, leading to road congestion and trash-covered streets. Meanwhile, as many residences are being turned into short-term rentals (like Airbnb), rents in the village have skyrocketed.

Views of the village
[Image by Ramon M from Pixabay]
According to SwissInfo, a branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR, local authorities are debating whether or not to charge a tourism tax of between 5 to 10 Swiss francs ($5.50 to $10.99).

This would be payable via a Smartphone app and would be required for daily visitors. However, this tourism tax wouldn’t apply to tourists who have booked stays and tours in Lauterbrunnen. Moreover, it wouldn’t apply to those visiting using public transportation.

Fabian Weber, a tourism researcher at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts told SwissInfo:

It’s very challenging to implement such an entry fee in a public space such as a village or valley.

We don’t have much experience and we don’t know if it works. My assumption is that it would probably not have a huge impact on the numbers of tourists, but at least it could raise money that could be invested in measures to better manage visitor flows or capacities, or compensate for damages.

Most tourism fees up to now don’t really curb the numbers. But they give some leeway when it comes to managing tourism development.

Overtourism across Europe

Aerial view of the village
Aerial view of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland [Image by Andrzej from Pixabay]
During the pandemic, world travel was curtailed for some time, and once it was over, travel took off, with many thousands of tourists landing in popular destinations. Many destinations in Europe are suffering the negative effects of too many tourists visiting at once. Meanwhile, the majority often visit to simply take photos at beauty spots made famous by social media influencers.

This problem has led many cities to introduce entry fee systems, create barriers to block views made famous by social media from impeding traffic flow and congesting sidewalks. Moreover, they have implemented new regulations to curb overtourism’s harm on important historical sites and natural landmarks.

Meanwhile, as summers get hotter, the tide might be turning a little, as travelers visit countries like Spain in the spring or fall months to avoid the heat.


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