Ever more people are travelling more frequently, further and for shorter. What is the impact of our holiday dreams on the built environment, the social fabric and climate change? And how can we envisage a kind of tourism that does not destroy what it lives from?
Tourism has been growing in intensity for decades, and become an integral part of our Western lifestyle. It has brought an increase in value, prosperity and cosmopolitanism to even the most remote regions, thus preventing emigration. That is the sunny side of tourism. On the downside, there are negative effects, such as crowds of people, the impact on the environment, and rising land prices.
Tourist hotspots suffer from the onslaught of visitors while other places are left behind. Communities are ambivalent: On the one hand they benefit from tourism, while on the other they are increasingly observing undesirable side effects. And considering that tourism is more dependent on the climate than other sectors of the economy, it is astonishing that climate change is often still a marginal issue here, of all places. Using vivid illustrations, examples and data, the exhibition shows, among other things, the interplay between tourism and economic growth, rising CO2 emissions and the displacement of local populations by pushing up living costs and the price of housing — now that tourist accommodation is increasingly becoming investment properties.
How can we rethink tourism in an era of climate crisis, wars, the threat of further pandemics, a shortage of skilled labour and an ongoing energy crisis, and steer it in a more sustainable direction? What is the role that spatial planning and architecture are playing in this? The exhibition sheds light on key aspects of tourism, such as mobility, urban tourism, interdependencies with agriculture, climate change, the privatisation of natural beauty and changing typologies of accommodation, and explores the question of whether and how tourism development is planned. Above all, however, the exhibition looks at the potential for transformation. Many travellers are reluctant to see themselves as part of the phenomenon of mass tourism, and doubts about the climate compatibility of our travel patterns are being raised increasingly.
A large number of initiatives have recently emerged that take a different approach to nature, the local population, the climate, cities and villages, or on mobility. Examples are also shown of groundbreaking solutions in Austria and around the world. Planning concepts from different countries invite a comparison of different strategies. Numerous successesful examples are also given that have created demand for a type of holiday that is no longer exclusively based on consumption and the growth paradigm. The key question remains: How can we envisage tourism that no longer destroys what it lives from?
© Photo: Luisen Rodrigo_flickr_(CC BY 2.0)