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Salzburg looks to limit daytrippers in new tourism concept

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
Salzburg  looks to limit daytrippers in new tourism concept
The Hohensalzburg fortress in Salzburg. Photo by Free Walking Tour Salzburg on Unsplash

Salzburg leaders are looking to curb ‘mass tourism’ and encourage longer stays instead.

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The number of visitors to Salzburg annually is almost back up to the 2019 levels of the pre-Covid era. But even that overall average is hiding big tourism spikes.

July 2023 saw Salzburg’s busiest July ever – with a record 3.68 million hotel stays in the state as a whole.

But the welcome isn’t always warm, with reports of some locals openly swearing at tour guides in the street.

The city’s own head of tourism, Christine Schönhuber, says Salzburg has no strategy for ‘quality tourism’ and that ‘mass tourism’ in the alpine city is out of control.

‘We only want those who stay overnight,’ Schönhuber said.

The comment prompted an announcement from Mayor Harald Preuner (ÖVP), who says the city’s tourism plan that runs until 2025 will proceed with some revisions.

A street in central Salzburg.

A street in central Salzburg. City leaders are particularly concerned about the number of day trippers the city sees, prefering overnight guests. Photo: zhang xiaoyu on Unsplash

Preuner says the city itself would like to encourage longer stays and mitigate the impact from day trippers – two-thirds of whom arrive in their own private cars, contributing to the city’s now notorious traffic jams.

The city’s ÖVP-SPÖ coalition is also discussing whether to revive the idea of a Messebahn – an idea from the city’s previous SPÖ mayor that would see the city’s main exhibition hall linked by an express train to Salzburg Central Station – or Hauptbahnhof.

Politicians reason that day trippers could park at the exhibition hall in one of 3,000 available spaces, before taking the train into the city centre – helping to alleviate some traffic.

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The coalition is also looking at closing some streets to cars and putting restrictions on souvenir shops, similar to those in place in Amsterdam or Dubrovnik. It also says its considering closing the bus terminal at the city’s Mirabellplatz to daytripping companies – allowing only those transporting overnight guests.

Salzburg currently has 14,550 available beds for overnight stays, but only about 60 percent of them are used regularly. The city has put in place a ban on any new hotel developments with more than 60 rooms.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: How to explore Salzburg in one weekend

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