Overcrowding and climate change threaten tourism

Thursday, November 9, 2023


Wonderful views, long mountain slopes, solitary peaks and hoary tranquility is the place to be for many travellers in both summer and winter.

The Alps are becoming infamous for traffic jams, overcrowded villages and pleasure seekers obstructing hiking trails and skiing slopes.

Once idyllic Alpine villages in pristine landscapes have now become ugly concrete fortresses of mass accommodation.

More recently, the effects of climate change are compounding the woes of the Alps.


Longer and significantly hotter heatwaves and snowfall are causing glaciers to melt quicker and permafrost soil to thaw more rapidly.

At the same time, storms are increasing in strength and frequency, wiping out entire forests on the mountain slopes.

As a result soil erosion is worsening and could heighten the risk of land- and mudslides.

Tourism at risk

Tourism is the main breadwinner for Alpine populations.

Scaling back the annual influx of holiday makers seems out of the question.

Skiing resorts are especially hard hit by climate change and need to adapt the most.

Less snowfall and higher temperatures are already taking their toll. Substantially raising the bills for local communities to make up for the lack of natural snow with technical means.

Even so, Alpine temperatures are already rising above levels that render snow cannons and other machines that produce artificial snow useless.

All of this will change the face of tourism in the Alps, which is still the region with the most winter resorts in the world.

Henriette Adolf of the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) thinks in the future people will no longer be able to enjoy “a string of seven days of Alpine skiing,”.

But need to be flexible enough to engage in activities more in line with “the local conditions” at specific points in time.

Hiking out of climate trouble?

Despite hiking and mountaineering growing in popularity in the Alps, those activities are also becoming more dangerous.

The gradual thawing of permafrost soils at altitudes above 2,400 meters (2,624 yards) poses a big problem.

These permanently frozen grounds act effectively like glue, holding entire rock formations. Their thawing can cause dangerous mudslides, rockfall or entire mountains to collapse.

The climate-related upheavals in the Alpine landscapes are increasing the pressure on the operators of huts and shelters in the mountains to adapt.

Some of those dwellings, needed to have their foundations reinforced to withstand soil erosion. Moreover, water is becoming scarcer in the summer.

Alpine clubs often operate them.

The downsides of success

Apart from climate change, tourism in the Alps is having a massive problem with too many holiday makers swarming the region every year.

Local populations are feeling overwhelmed by the mass influx of tourists.

Many of them only coming to chase the latest must-visit site popular on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Share On:

« Back to Page

Related Posts



Subscribe to our Newsletters

I want to receive travel news and trade event update from Travel And Tour World. I have read Travel And Tour World'sPrivacy Notice.

Nov 28
November 28 - November 30
Dec 05
December 5 - December 8
Jan 05
January 5, 2024 - January 7, 2024
Jan 18
January 18, 2024 - January 21, 2024