In the Tyrolean Stubai Valley, tourism representatives have presented plans for a new lift project, the € 35 million expansion of the Schlick 2000 and Elferbahnen ski areas. Even in uncertain times like these, the motto is “higher, faster, further” as usual - with little additional benefit for skiers and major damage to nature. Especially in times of crisis, the Austrian Alpine Association calls for a rethink towards a sustainable and future-oriented tourism strategy - when, if not now?
"What we urgently need is not another lift, but rather a move away from consumer-heavy mass tourism to more nature-friendly forms of tourism," says Clemens Matt, Secretary General of the Alpine Club. “We have to understand this crisis as a historical opportunity to initiate a rethink - a rethink about how we deal with nature and its living beings. The fact that the next questionable ski area expansions are being planned even in times like this does not exactly reflect future-oriented thinking. "
In the case of a specific project in the Stubai Valley, the project applicants are attempting to improve the quality of the existing Elferbahnen (around 16 million euros) by building a new feeder railway from Neustift i. S. in die Schlick 2000 (around 19 million euros) thematically linked, although the projects have nothing to do with each other. The reason seems clear: there are simply no sensible arguments for building the new feeder railway. Apart from increasing traffic in Neustift i. S. and the fact that the Schlick 2000 ski area is already fully utilized, the lift project threatens above all to “destroy valuable natural spaces and cultural landscapes in the Stubai Valley. Despite numerous negative features, unsuccessful coordination and weighty counter-arguments, individual tourism professionals want to stick to this outdated project, ”says Benjamin Stern from the spatial planning and nature conservation department of the Austrian Alpine Association. “Such an expansion in times of the climate and biodiversity crisis is anything but future-oriented. We see an increased awareness of nature and the environment, especially among young people, and gentler forms of tourism are becoming more and more popular. "
Overall, according to the plans, the most valuable mountain and alpine landscape would be extensively fragmented without opening up attractive slopes, which would be great damage for little benefit. Even the valley run to Neustift is impossible due to the terrain. In addition, Stern locates a massive load from alternative drivers for forest, game and the residents living under the new cable car. “In addition, the valley station is planned to be far away from the center of Neustift, so that it would not be possible to enter the village. Essentially, there is a shift in traffic instead of traffic calming. In summary, the entire cost-benefit ratio has to be described as extremely unfavorable, ”says Stern. The Alpine Association therefore calls for an immediate project stop and a pooling of resources towards nature-friendly tourism strategies.