Passion of the People – 1.6.4

Nature Tourism – How Does Tourism Benefit of Wild Nights? 

The restorative value of the night landscape cannot be overemphasized: it is essential to appreciate the value of the darkness as a good to be protected. It is important to give human and environmental interests priority consideration above economic ones in this regard. Darkness is a natural resource that must be acknowledged, appreciated and protected as such. Therefore, lighting systems shall be either eliminated or carefully optimized so that they don’t disturb residents, visitors, landscapes, animals, plants and their interaction.

Some regions—usually in remote areas—promote their beautiful night landscapes and impressive starry skies. They benefit from nature tourism.

Examples of such regions are:

  • Kaunertal valley / Austria. Shed by surrounding mountain peaks, the Kaunertal Valley offers one of the most pristine night skies in the Tyrol and Austria. Guided tours as well as a range of self-guided possibilities invite to explore and wonder. The Stargazing bowl, made of regional stone and wood, makes you ground with earth while you gaze at the thousands of stars and Milky Way. Information is available at the tourist office centre in Feichten, Kaunertal.
  • Sternenpark Attersse-Traunsee / Austria. This region is the first to be recognized by International Dark Sky Association (IDA) in Austria. Municipalities in this region changed their public lighting, so it is less impacting our environment and nature, including human. (LINK)
  • The UNESCO-Biosphärenreservat Rhön / Germany, IDA-Park since 2014, offers a wide range of attractions for hobby-astronomers as well as stargazers.

Tourist attractions in the form of star parks, light protection areas, theme trails and observatories raise awareness for the protection of the nocturnal habitat and public enjoyment of the starry sky without the restrictions imposed by artificial light. Offers such as guided night walks, possibly with a focus on e.g. nocturnal animals, senses, stars/moon/persides, night experiences, e.g. listening experiences under the starry sky or also guided Citizen Science actions, e.g. by means of a “night lights” app, enrich the tourist repertoire. The goal should be to get people excited about the night, to make the night an experience. Certifications for the protection of the night sky and the natural nocturnal landscape already exist.

Night Sky Adventure in the Kaunertal Valley – Photo by Andreas Kirschner,
Glacier and Milky Way attracts tourists in the Kaunertal Valley – Photo by Andreas Kirschner,

Further resources

Links below will redirect you to external websites. In accordance with the European data protection declarations, we would like to point out that by clicking on these links you may send data to external providers. We cannot prevent that. 


Sternennächte erwandern im Kaunertal

Sternenwanderung im Sternenpark Rhön l Sternenführung bei Rhönmomente

Online Resources

International Dark Sky Reserve Rhön

Sternenpark Attersee – Traunsee

Guided Stargazing – VISIT DARK SKIES

Into the Night in the Kaunertal Valley (Online publication)

Unterwegs in die Nacht im Kaunertal (Online publication)

Article: Weltraum Wanderung (Tirol Werbung)

Trekking Notturno – URSUS Adventures

Il cielo in una stanza: 10 alberghi dove dormire sotto le stelle e ritrovare sé stessi –

Glamping: vacanze sotto le stelle, con stile – Corradi Outdoor Living Space

Arrivano le Perseidi: curiosità e consigli pratici per osservare le stelle cadenti – Focus

Citizen Science – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Avvicinarsi alla ricerca con la citizen science – EDU INAF

Le 6 mete di turismo astronomico dove ammirare i cieli stellati più belli d’Italia – Andrea Apicella, voloscontato

Teaching Materials

 Nachtlichter App