Tourism is more than just blue skies and pretty landscapes.
It represents the interplay of countless factors. Some can be reinvented at any time and in numerous places, while others result from a long history.
In a delightful way, it combines humour with insight and entertainment with history. Mechanical theatre shows, detailed models, films, audio: the Touriseum is anything but a dusty old museum full of tedious texts.
Travellers, whether merchants, pilgrims or artists, have been crossing the Alps for centuries. It is no pleasure to travel; it is difficult and dangerous. The Alps are a source of fear, and one is glad to leave them behind.
Initially Tyrol is not an interesting travel destination. But then the Tyrolean uprisings led by Andreas Hofer against Napoleon arouse general admiration in Europe. English and German writers begin to extol it, and singing Tyroleans are found all over the world as pedlars.
With the advent of Romanticism the Alps cease to inspire fear. Raw nature is seen as gentle and beautiful - an unspoilt alternative to the polluted cities. The urge to find ideal landscapes develops.
The European upper classes spend the summer in one of the famous spa resorts. But where should they go in the winter? Meran has no spa water to offer, but it does have an agreeable climate, much milder than north of the Alps.
New editions of travel books keep appearing. They describe the country and the people, and how to reach the sights. They remove the fear of foreign parts.
What a wonderful invention! Rail travel reduces the distance. The countryside flies past the window and the journey is almost effortless. Tourism takes off.
For the Church, tourists are a source of unhealthy developments: urban culture, liberal ideas, sinful lifestyles, but its opposition is futile. Increasing numbers of Tyroleans find work in the service of foreigners.
Adventurous climbers scale the highest peaks. Their accounts inspire, above all, town-dwellers with enthusiasm. Climbing clubs establish a comprehensive network of Alpine huts and paths so that they can experience the mountains.
Magnificent grand hotels, aristocratic villas and elegant promenades come into being. The luxury of a holiday comes to be taken for granted by the better-off, and Tyrol is a fashionable destination.
The luxurious hotels are the palaces of the middle class. In elegant surroundings, high society plays out its role and, heedless of the impending catastrophe, enjoys the end of an era.
The front line of the First World War runs through the former holiday landscape. Hotels are turned into military hospitals or suffer serious damage from bombardment. At the end of the war Tyrol is divided.
South Tyrol's annexation by Italy brings troubled times, but also new visitors. As soon as the war is over, Italians come in droves as holidaymakers and take over the newly acquired territory.
German films set in the Alps arouse enthusiasm for this landscape yet again. Man against mountain - this struggle fascinates the masses. Climbing and hiking become popular, and skiing opens up a second season.
The brief upturn of the 30s comes to a sudden end. Jewish guests are interned or expelled. Following the "Option", thousands of South Tyroleans emigrate. The large hotels fill up with refugees and the wounded from the front.
After the horror of war people are longing for an idealised world. They have a yearning for the sun and the South, for red wine and "Bella Italia". The German economic miracle makes the dream possible. A holiday becomes a right for all classes of society.
Thanks to the private car, tourists can reach even the remote Alpine valleys. Many farmers seize the opportunity and offer holiday accommodation. The friendly hospitality of the small family enterprises is popular, but it often means the sacrifice of the family's own private life.
Masses of holidaymakers come zooming over the new Brenner motorway. The Alps are turning into an all-year-round adventure park. South Tyrol registers a large influx thanks to the development of winter sports.
South Tyrol is in the grip of a sort of gold rush that rapidly changes the face of the country. Farmhouses turn into enormous hotels, peaceful villages into lively tourist centres. However, human and environmental limitations to these developments begin to become evident.
South Tyrol has adapted well to intensive tourism. Restaurants, ski pistes, hiking trails – locals too enjoy its attractions. The tourist industry is not geared solely to outsiders, but is firmly embedded in the land as a basis for prosperity. Is this a sustainable model for success?