Events & News

“Tourism & War”: the New Special Exhibition 2015 at the Touriseum

Tourism and war seem at first glance to be mutually exclusive. This new exhibition at the Touriseum shows how closely they are in fact related.

Wheeled stretcher for convalescents, circa 1917

The years before 1914 were a time of brilliance for Tyrol. Tourism was booming. The number of visitors rose and rose and it seemed as if this growth would go on forever. The First World War brought it all to an abrupt halt. Picturesque landscapes suddenly became front lines, thriving resorts - such as Meran - were transformed into giant hospitals. For many hoteliers and innkeepers with establishments in the line of fire, the work of decades was ruined overnight. This is precisely what happened to the Baur family: their popular resort of Landro in the Höhlenstein Valley was blown up in May 1915 by the Austrian army to provide a free field of fire. Yet the disaster also triggered developments from which tourism later benefited: for example, cable car technology made considerable progress during the war years, and pioneers such as Luis Zuegg were subsequently able to use the experience gained in the war in the design of tourist cable cars. Moreover Alpine skiing first became widespread during the war in the mountains and several other attractions also arose from the horrors of 1914-1918.

Tourism and war seem at first glance to be mutually exclusive. This year's special exhibition at the Touriseum shows how closely they are in fact related. Individual aspects of this strange connection are presented in the Coach House of Trauttmansdorff Castle by means of ten stylised houses, representing small thematic islands that range from hotels to barracks and contain objects (both outside and inside) that offer plenty to discover as the perspective shifts.

The conference on "War & Tourism", organised by the Touriseum from 7 to 9 November 2013 at Trauttmansdorff Castle, provided the foundation for the exhibition contents. Participants from Italy, Austria, Germany, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia discussed the impact of the First World War on the development of tourism in the Alpine regions.

In March 2015 a bilingual (Italian/German) exhibition catalogue was published to further investigate the individual topics around the theme of "Tourism & War": it is available at the Touriseum.

The new special exhibition can be seen from 1 April to 15 November 2015 in the Coach House of Trauttmansdorff Castle. Up-to-date information on the exhibition, opening hours and other events at the Touriseum in 2015 can be found on the Museum's homepage at www.touriseum.it.

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