Interview: Chinese tourists help boost economy in Austrian town Hallstatt: mayor

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-03 20:29:54|Editor: mingmei
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VIENNA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tourists have helped boost the local economy in the scenic Austrian town of Hallstatt, according to its mayor.

The historical town in the state of Upper Austria has drawn tourists from around the world, especially from Asia in recent years, said Hallstatt mayor Alexander Scheutz.

Thanks in part to the filming of the 2006 South Korean TV drama series "Spring Waltz" in the area, at first the number of South Korean visitors rose.

Over the past six to eight years, the mayor said, there have been increasingly more Chinese tourists flowing into the town, a UNESCO world heritage, and they now account for at least 40 percent of all visitors.

The Hallstatt mayor recalled the Austrian town's history, initially known for its salt production, as well as becoming a tourist destination due in part to a link to the royal couple Emperor Franz Josef I and Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi") of Austria in the second half of the 19th century.

From 2014 on, great numbers of tourists have come to Hallstatt even in winter, said Scheutz. He thanked visitors from China and other Asian countries for including the lakeside town of only about 800 people into their holiday plans.

Museum and churches, mountains, forests, lakes and clean air are particularly appealing to Asian tourists, according to Scheutz.

"The tourist dollar has become an indispensable part of the town's economy," he noted. However, the local government is considering measures to reduce the crowdedness and noise tourists elicit, of which local residents have complained, he said.

Despite the related challenges, Scheutz said he considers tourism "very positive" for the town.