Why Is Increasing Tourism In The Alps In Europe A Threat?

by Shreya Rathod
Why Is Increasing Tourism In The Alps In Europe A Threat?

The Alps in Europe are one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. The challenging hiking trails and captivating views often cast a spell on the tourists. However, the Alps have been subjected to various dangers which are a threat!

Tourism In The Alps Is A Threat!

alpine tourism
Credits: Canva

The Alps are becoming increasingly well-known for their congested villages, gridlock, and partygoers blocking ski runs and hiking paths. Once charming Alpine communities in pristine settings have been replaced by ugly concrete fortresses housing large numbers of people. More recently, these problems have been made worse by the consequences of climate change, Hindustan Times reported.

Steffen Reich is in charge of nature protection German Alpine Club, which is the world’s largest organisation of mountaineers and hikers. According to him, it is evident that the Alpine region is warming considerably more quickly than the global average.

He went on to say that less and prolonged snowfall and noticeably hotter heatwaves are accelerating the melting of glaciers and the thawing of permafrost soil. Entire woods on the mountain slopes are being destroyed by storms that are becoming stronger and more frequent at the same time. Because of this, soil erosion is increasing and may make mudslides and land disasters more likely.

Since tourism is the main source of income for populations in the Alps, reducing the yearly influx of tourists seems unthinkable. In fact, according to Steffen Reich, climate change will make the region even more popular with tourists because the mountainous region will stay cooler than lower-lying areas.

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The effects of less snowfall and warmer weather are already being seen, significantly increasing the costs incurred by nearby towns to use artificial snow-making techniques to make up for the shortage of natural snowfall. Still, Alpine temperatures are already rising above that at which snow cannons and other artificial snow-making devices become inoperable.

The Snow Thawing Results To Landslides And Rockfalls

alpine tourism
Credits: Canva

According to Henriette Adolf of the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA), people will not be able to enjoy a consecutive seven-day Alpine skiing vacation in the future. In her opinion, visitors will have to adjust to living without snow for extended periods. She also calls on the local tourism authorities to get ready for year-round seasons, which would mean modifying skiing lifts so that hikers can use them as well.

In the Alps, hiking and mountaineering are becoming more and more popular, but they are also more riskier. One major issue is the slow thawing of permafrost soils above 2,400 metres in elevation. When they thaw, there may be deadly mudslides, rockfalls, or the collapse of entire mountains.

The need for mountain hut and shelter operators to adapt is growing due to climate-related changes in Alpine landscapes. The foundations of a few of those homes, which are frequently run by Alpine groups, required to be strengthened in order to resist soil erosion. In addition, summertime water is becoming harder to come by.

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In addition to climate change, an overwhelming number of tourists invade the Alps each year, creating a major issue for the tourism industry.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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