A gorgeous little Austrian town Hallstatt has set up a fence to stop tourists from taking selfies. No, it’s not that the toen leaders are mean – but they are facing severe issues due to a flood of tourists coming to take their perfect Instagram photos.
[Related reading: Instagram is ‘killing’ Hallstatt, let it go!]
Hallstatt has become iconic, especially after it allegedly inspired Disney’s Frozen. Thanks to its Instagram fame and the alleged connection with the animated movie, more than a million tourists visit the town yearly. Naturally, many of them want to take a selfie with the recognizable backdrop –and the town recently put up a tall wooden fence to stop them from doing that.
The move caused a fierce backlash, according to Euro News. After the public outcry, the fences have been removed.
The problem of overtourism
At the moment of writing this, there are 832,354 posts tagged #hallstatt on Instagram. It’s estimated that over a million tourists visit the town every year. For comparison, the town’s population is less than 1,000 inhabitants (923, according to AZ Nations). Let that sink in. And now, think about the issues these people face when tourists flood their picturesque little streets, litter, make noise, hang on private property, fly drones, take up parking space, etc.
According to Euro News, the number of tourists is on the rise again, after the pandemic, and the charming little town is trying to curb overtourism. Hallstatt has already introduced daily limits on the number of buses and cars that can enter the town, and the fence was another attempt to deal with the massive influx of tourists.
As you probably know, Hallstatt isn’t the only place dealing with overtourism. The Italian town of Portofino and the UK’s Notting Hill had their own attempts to stop tourists posing for selfies. If you’ve ever visited the Acropolis in Athens’ Greece or pretty much any spot in Venice, Italy, you know what it looks like. These were the first to spring to mind, but there are many places worldwide that deal with more tourists than they can handle.
Even though the fence has been removed, Hallstatt’s Mayor Alexander Scheutz told the Austrian press that he wants to put up a banner and remind tourists “that people live in the area.” He said that “residents just want to be left alone.” Can you blame them?