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This town of 800 receives 1 million tourists each year

August 07, 2019 08:41 IST

With pastel-coloured houses casting shimmering reflections onto the looking-glass lake and with lofty mountains rearing up on all sides, the Austrian town of Hallstatt is a must-see for tourists across the world.

IMAGE: Tourists use their smartphones to take pictures near Hallstaettersee lake in Hallstatt, Austria. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

So beautiful is this little town with a population of 800 people that it received the World Heritage tag. And with that comes the massive influx of tourists -- according to reports, -- it receives over 1 million tourists a year.


Surprisingly, most of the tourists to this scenic place come from China. Hallstatt is so popular among the Chinese that they created a replica of it in 2012, complete with the church and the main square.

IMAGE: The Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut alpine region was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

While the income from tourism has greatly helped t he town’s economy, the locals are not all happy with the steady influx of tourists 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."

IMAGE: Tourists queue to board a boat for a trip on Hallstaettersee lake in Hallstatt, Austria. The town attracts a staggering million tourists thronging Hallstatt every year. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

However, the locals don’t agree with the mayor. "We have a lot of short-term visitors who swamp the place," said a resident. "That isn't so good for the people who live here," he added.

To cub the massive amounts of tourism, Hallstatt now plans to reduce the number of tourists buses in the town.

IMAGE: Hallstatt now plans to reduce the number of tourists buses in the town. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

IMAGE: A general view of a replica of Austria's UNESCO heritage site, Hallstatt village, in China's southern city of Huizhou in Guangdong province. China Minmetals Corporation spent $940 million to build this controversial site. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters