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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4384; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124384

Is Overtourism Overused? Understanding the Impact of Tourism in a City Context

1
Hotel and Facility Management, Breda University of Applied Sciences, PO Box 3917, 4800 DX Breda, The Netherlands
2
School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg 2092, South Africa
3
European Tourism Futures Institute, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, PO Box 1298, 8900 CG Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Abstract

In less than two years, the concept of overtourism has come to prominence as one of the most discussed issues with regards to tourism in popular media and, increasingly, academia. In spite of its popularity, the term is still not clearly delineated and remains open to multiple interpretations. The current paper aims to provide more clarity with regard to what overtourism entails by placing the concept in a historical context and presenting results from a qualitative investigation among 80 stakeholders in 13 European cities. Results highlight that overtourism describes an issue that is multidimensional and complex. Not only are the issues caused by tourism and nontourism stakeholders, but they should also be viewed in the context of wider societal and city developments. The article concludes by arguing that while the debate on overtourism has drawn attention again to the old problem of managing negative tourism impacts, it is not well conceptualized. Seven overtourism myths are identified that may inhibit a well-rounded understanding of the concept. To further a contextualized understanding of overtourism, the paper calls for researchers from other disciplines to engage with the topic to come to new insights. View Full-Text
Keywords: city tourism; tourismphobia; tourism impacts; sustainable tourism; carrying capacity; overtourism; urban planning; governance; destination management; touristification city tourism; tourismphobia; tourism impacts; sustainable tourism; carrying capacity; overtourism; urban planning; governance; destination management; touristification
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Koens, K.; Postma, A.; Papp, B. Is Overtourism Overused? Understanding the Impact of Tourism in a City Context. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4384.

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