The picturesque village of Iseltwald, situated on the shores of Lake Biel, has been grappling with an influx of tourists in recent years due to its connection to popular Netflix series. Seeking to address the challenges posed by the overwhelming visitor numbers, local authorities have introduced a fee for taking photos from the village’s renowned pier, which offers a stunning view of the lake.
Iseltwald became a prominent location in the South Korean Netflix series “Crash Landing on You,”, attracting fans who yearned to immerse themselves in the same setting as their beloved characters.
The series depicts the unlikely encounter between a South Korean billionaire heiress and a valiant officer from the totalitarian North Korean regime, who meet after the heiress crash-lands her paraglider in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas. The story unfolds against the backdrop of various flashbacks, including scenes filmed in Iseltwald.
As visitor numbers increase, local authorities have introduced a fee for taking photos from the village’s renowned pier, which offers a stunning view of the lake.
Notably, the hero of the series plays the piano, and his melody resonates across the lake as the heroine, whom he later falls in love with, arrives by ferry from Interlaken.
The allure of experiencing the same narrative has drawn a multitude of visitors to the famous pier. The local tourist office admits it is challenging to determine the exact number of people visiting the site, but Titia Weiland, the responsible authority, estimates that “there are 1,000 visitors for every local resident living here” in the village of approximately 400 inhabitants.
The surge in tourism has given rise to logistical complications. The daily arrival of around twenty coaches often leads to traffic congestion at the village entrance. Despite the significant footfall, Iseltwald gains little benefit from the tourists’ presence, as they typically arrive, capture a photo, and promptly depart.
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“When you have hundreds or thousands of people coming to the pier to take a photo, and less than 10 per cent come here to have a drink, that’s a problem,” highlighted Sonja Hornung, the manager of the Strand hotel, during an interview with AFP.
To address the challenges posed by the overwhelming tourism, the village has taken the decision to install a turnstile at the entrance to the popular pier. Visitors seeking the long-awaited selfie will now be required to pay a fee of 5 Swiss francs, equivalent to €5.16.
While some individuals have accepted the necessity of the fee, others opt to admire the scenery from the shore and capture a few photos without venturing onto the pier.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega