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This Picturesque Austrian Town of 800 People Receives a Million Visitors Every Year

The Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut alpine region was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

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Updated:August 2, 2019, 4:34 PM IST
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This Picturesque Austrian Town of 800 People Receives a Million Visitors Every Year
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Booming tourism over the past decade has helped an Austrian town of 800 people financially but some local residents are wondering at what cost.

The Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut alpine region was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

“ The cultural landscape of the region boasts a continuing evolution covering 2500 years. Its history from the very beginning is linked primarily with the economic history of salt extraction,” the global body says, adding salt production on a “major scale can be traced back in Hallstatt to the Middle Bronze Age.”

That perhaps explains the reason for a staggering million tourists thronging Hallstatt every year.

The BBC reports that the tourist footfall has seen a dramatic increase in last ten years.

A lot of the visitors to Hallstatt come from China, where a replica was created in 2012, complete with the church and the main square.

But while tourism has helped the town's economy, many residents are worried at the toll heavy rush of tourists is taking on the pristine town.

"The advantages are that we have become financially independent," the Mayor of Hallstatt, Alexander Scheutz was quoted as saying. "We used to be a place that people left... But that's changed. Now we can develop our own projects and offer a lot to our population."

A local interviewed by BBC seems to have a different take on the situation, though.

"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."

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