Who will lead the transition to sustainable ski tourism in the Alps?

Jan 31, 2024

Author: Maruša Goluža, ZRC SAZU Anton Melik Geographical Institute.

Mountain resorts in the Alps are undergoing a transition that is not only driven by climate change. In November 2023, ZRC SAZU Anton Melik Geographical Institute and Regional Development Agency RAGOR organised a stakeholder workshop in Kranjska Gora to identify the main drivers of change in the social, economic, technological, environmental, political and legal spheres.

Although there was an awareness that climate change will have a significant impact on the future of the Kranjska Gora mountain resort, the social drivers of change were the ones most emphasised by stakeholders. Kranjska Gora is increasingly confronted with overtourism, which triggers many other challenges for the mountain resort. These include the provision of services tailored to tourists and the increased appropriation of real estate from residential to tourist use. Young people are leaving because of the extreme rise in property prices in recent years, and the area is increasingly reduced to a visual setting for tourists. Investors, often from elsewhere, do not respect the local identity and do not include local food producers in their offer. Consequently, Kranjska Gora is slowly losing its local identity. The workshop participants believe that these developments are not beneficial for Kranjska Gora. Therefore, systemic measures are needed to give young people in particular the opportunity to live and work in the local environment in order to foster a sustainable transition.

The sustainable transformation of mountain resorts in the Alps will not be possible without strong and vital local communities that give a soul to tourist destinations and offer visitors an authentic experience of a place. Young people play a key role in this regard. We look forward to the next steps of the TranStat project, where we will discuss with stakeholders the future scenarios and actions for the sustainable transition of mountain resorts.