Hallstatt in the Austrian Alps is a town so beautiful, people can’t stay away. According to a report by BBC, the World Heritage Site with a population of 800 receives around 1 million tourists a year. The number of visitors has increased dramatically in the last ten years, and today, tourists with smartphones are a common sight.
A lot of the visitors to Hallstatt come from China. In fact, the town is so popular there that China created a replica of it in 2012, complete with the church and the main square.
But while tourism has helped the town’s economy, not all the residents are happy with the steady influx of visitors to the pristine town.
“The advantages are that we have become financially independent,” says the Mayor of Hallstatt, Alexander Scheutz. “We used to be a place that people left… But that’s changed. Now we can develop our own projects and offer a lot of our population.”
However, a local interviewed by BBC offered a different take. “We have a lot of short-term visitors who swamp the place,” he said. “That isn’t so good for the people who live here.”
Hallstatt now plans to reduce the number of tour buses it receives.