Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives; it’s a terrific way to interact with people all over the world, but it also has drawbacks, as the national park Berchtesgaden discovered last year.
In 2020, German blogger Yvonne Pferrer garnered much condemnation after posting a drone video of the waterfall on Instagram, followed by a photo of the natural pools of Berchtesgaden’s “Königssee.” Many accused her of harming the environment for the sake of a few likes. She only apologized after numerous requests from her followers and even the national park, but instead of deleting the photo, she immediately followed it up with another.
Attractions like the waterfall are expanding more and more, drawing more people, thanks to many influencers like Yvonne Pferrer. Unfortunately, the Instagram photos just highlight the stunning scenery; no one asks how they got there or how nature is affected. Furthermore, the area surrounding the pool has been closed off because it is dangerous and you can slip very rapidly. But, of course, your followers aren’t aware of this because you wouldn’t receive as many likes if they were.
Ulrich Brendel, scientist and deputy park director, says it began around three years ago. At initially, the National Park Service would have missed the fact that young people in particular were posting images on Instagram and Facebook from off-the-beaten-path locations in the park. “We’ve been notified by third parties that parts of the park have been viewed by persons who are being followed online by a large number of people. That, of course, attracts imitators.”
Brendel is particularly concerned about the fact that people are increasingly approaching areas where no one has visited before. ““The last untouched swaths of Germany are advertised on social media,” he says.
The Influence of Digitalization on Tourism
|It attracts more tourists, resulting in profit for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.||Too many tourists may devastate the environment, causing wildlife to get displaced and crowded areas.|
|Creates more jobs||May weaken the strength of the community|
|Leads to an increased commercial competition||The fast-pace may lead to smaller businesses and hotels dying out|
|Booking online is far more sustainable than using an analogue travel agency|
|Better and faster form of communication|
Digitalization is an important aspect of our lives, and it is usually beneficial and important. However, as with anything, too much of a good thing can lead to controversies like the one described above. We must be aware of our consumption habits and consider whether we want to leave a decent legacy for our children.
The desire for Likes nowadays sadly takes precedence over the welfare of nature, hence “Likes at any cost and regardless of losses.” We want to emphasize how mass tourism devastates the environment and how critical it is to preserve nature’s beauty and individuality. To put this into action, we’d like to meet with the responsible rangers as well as the tourist information center to discuss options. However, we have already gathered various alternatives, such as closing the waterfall or posting more banners and fliers to raise awareness about the environment and ecology. Further we have previously read numerous articles on the internet and fliers about this, and we also went to the location to get a sense of the present situation.