The purpose of this paper is to consider the involvement of mountain farmers in the transition of alpine pasture management and the development of ecotourism in Hinterhornbach village, Tyrol (Austria). The paper also discusses the characteristics of tourists and tourist facilities.
There are eight alpine pastures in Hinterhornbach village, most of which were abandoned by the first half of the 1960s. The main reason for this is due to their small grazing area, inadequate improvements, and the danger of avalanches. In the 1980s, tourism in Austria developed rapidly and the alpine pastures became more important for preservation and recreation functions, associated with their role in land preservation, the beautiful scenery they afforded, and the habitats they provided for rare wild fauna and alpine plants. Three alpine livestock pastures supported by national or state grants are in relatively good condition. Petersbergalm, for example, offers a simple restaurant with cheese and butter manufactured by an agricultural cooperative, as well as mountain climbing and a hikers' rest station. Moreover, there are eight small alpine huts built for the farmhouses about 150 years ago in Jochbachalm, and, from the mid 1980s, these were adapted as a second residence for tourists.
The number of tourists saying at Hinterhornbach village was 10, 300 between May 1997 and April 1998, of whom 99.8% (10, 239) were foreigners, and of whom about 90% were German. The mountain farmers who greet these tourists are greatly interested in the tourist income. For the tourist, on the other hand, mountain tourism is an opportunity to enjoy tranquil and beautiful nature. Since tourism development that despoils the environment is undesirable, and in order to promote ecotourism at Hinterhornbach village, the maintenance of the alpine pasture and the colony grasslands by mountain farmers is seen to be indispensable.