The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Appenzell: Fewer tourists, please

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 29 March 2023
Switzerland’s most unique region, the canton of Appenzell, is proposing a limit on tourists to retain the charm that brought travelers there in the first place.
Appenzell: Fewer tourists, please
The famous Äscher-Wildkirchli guest house is a major draw for tourists (Keystone SDA).

The Swiss canton of Appenzell has always done things their own way. They vote by a show of hands in the town square. They let children smoke once a year. And they don’t want to be overrun by tourists, even if it means losing some of the CHF125 million tourism generates.

Read more: The most bizarre place in Switzerland

About 1.8 million tourists made their way to the tiny, mountainous region in 2022. Most of them are day-trippers who want to take Instagram photos of Seealp Lake or visit the Äscher-Wildkirchli guest house that was featured on the cover of a 2018 National Geographic book. Given that the population of Appenzell is only about 16,000, every sixth job in the canton is related to tourism.

And although the notoriety is nice, Appenzell is showing the wear and tear of the tourism boom. Streets are congested and parking lots are full. Trash cans are overflowing. The locals say they are actually wistful for the quieter days during the Covid pandemic.

The canton this week revealed a 15-point strategy to quell tourism. Two of the points discourage crowds of day-trippers, but encourage visitors to stay for a meal and overnight.

“Everything has limits. It is our job to find a healthy balance between tourism and nature,” Appenzell chief magistrate Roland Dähler told local public radio SRF.

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