Swiss village overwhelmed by tourists wants to charge visitors for entry

As Venice continues to trial its entry fee for day trippers, a popular village in the Swiss Alps is looking to follow its lead.

The local authority in Lauterbrunnen, a valley in Switzerland’s mountainous Bernese Oberland region, has set up a working group to come up with new ways to curb overtourism, according to Swiss Info.

The small and scenic community of Lauterbrunnen – which is home to less than 800 residents, according to the local authority – is grappling with congested streets, roads covered in trash and high rents.

One idea being mulled over is the introduction of an entry fee for some visitors, Swiss Info reported Thursday, citing local newspaper Berner Zeitung.

The proposed charge, which would be paid through a smartphone app, would be between 5 and 10 Swiss francs ($5.50 to $10.99) and apply to visitors passing through for the day by car.

“The exception would be guests who have booked an offer such as a hotel or an excursion or who arrive by public transport,” Lauterbrunnen Mayor Karl Näpflin said, according to Swiss Info.

There are already more than 60 destinations around the world where this type of tax is already in place, and the introduction of such tourist taxes often prove controversial.

The first day of the Venice entry charge on April 25 was met with protests by some locals who felt their home was being turned into a theme park. The famous city, which is at the global forefront of the move to charge day trippers specifically, will continue to pilot it until July 14.

The valley of Lauterbrunnen is home to numerous attractions, including Staubbach Falls, one of Europe’s highest unbroken waterfalls at 270 meters.

Last year, the Swiss hotel industry recorded its highest-ever level of overnight stays during a summer season at 23.9 million.

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