The term “tourist” appeared in English in the late eighteenth century and spread to other European languages in the first half of the nineteenth century. The corresponding sector first appeared in German as Fremdenverkehr. Since the 1970s, the neutral, internationally used term “tourism” has become the standard for the mobility industry. The industry is unique and in some aspects unlike any other industry. Foreign buyers of tourist services are not only customers of specific tourism companies, but also guests of tourist regions. They move within an environment created by others and sometimes appropriate the public space of this area, especially by participating in the expansive mass tourism. This has recently led to the emergence of the term “overtourism”. It is associated with a need to reduce the burden of some fashionable tourist regions caused by an excessive influx of tourists. The Alps are one of those regions in which tourism developed as an industry already in the nineteenth century. The number of tourists in this European mountain range — initially especially in Switzerland — grew considerably particularly after 1850. The period was marked by a rapid development of infrastructure in the form of modern forms of transport, accommodation and other services. Tourism became an indicator and factor in civic “progress”. Yet at the same time there appeared voices questioning this development. The author of the present article discusses three examples from various spheres, periods and regions illustrating the history of the growth of tourism in the Alps. The first part is devoted to literature, specifically to a satirical journal of a journey to Switzerland, published for the first time in 1880. The second part deals with science, drawing mainly on the work of a French geographer and her writings from 1956–1971. The third part concerns tourism policy in recent years in a fashionable Austrian village in the Alps.