Spatial planning and protected areas as approaches for limiting ski tourism development – examples from the Eastern European Alps

Authors: Marius Mayer*, University of Greifswald
Topics: Tourism Geography, Mountain Environments, Planning Geography
Keywords: mountains; tourism; Europe; spatial planning; protected areas; Germany; Austria; ski tourism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Its high economic importance for peripheral mountain areas notwithstanding, ski tourism not only has major environmental impact but also the tendency for expansion into ecologically sensible areas free of infrastructure so far (if unregulated by planning authorities or environmental legislation). This conflict between business and nature protection interests stems from the public good characteristics of non-developed landscapes (which should not be mixed-up with wilderness areas). Those areas are free from large-scale infrastructure like tarmac roads, cable-cars, ski lifts, terrain bulldozing, artificial lakes for snow-making etc. which is typical for the “industrialized” cultural landscape of ski areas today. While ski areas are a commercial land-use which pays off for the investors and landlords, non-developed landscapes do not, even though they generate highly important ecosystem services for mountain people and people in the forelands alike. This problem arises especially in the Eastern European Alps which are not only one of the most densely populated and developed mountain areas worldwide but also the mountain region with the highest tourism intensity in terms of guest arrivals, overnight stays and infrastructure development. This paper therefore presents two approaches to limit ski tourism development – spatial planning (“Alpenplan”, Bavaria, Germany and “Ruhegebiete”, Tyrol, Austria) and protected areas (alpine national parks’ nexus with glacier ski areas) referring to several own case studies – compares both and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. These (mostly successful) approaches could serve as best-practice examples for emerging mountain tourism destinations around the globe (Himalayas, Andes, Caucasus, Carpathians etc.).

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