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Special Issue "Sustainable Urban Tourism"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2018) | Viewed by 56092

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carlo Aall
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Western Norway Research Institute, Sogndal, Norway
Interests: sustainable development; sustainable tourism; climate policy; local environmental policy; sustainable mobility
Dr. Ko Koens
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands
Interests: slum tourism; urban tourism and hospitality as well as other forms of sustainable, responsible and eco-tourism in Europe, Latin America and Africa, with a specific focus on small businesses and entrepreneurship

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

2017 was the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. For 30 years, sustainable development has been an important topic in the policy and scientific discourse on tourism. Still, a number of studies indicate that tourism is arguably less sustainable—however, we choose to conceptualize and measure it. A core environmental challenge has proven to be the increase in tourism mobility, particularly that of aviation mobility. Further, due to the highly amorphous nature of tourism, it has proven highly challenging to operationalise and measure the social, cultural and environmental impact of tourism.

Urban tourism is the fastest growing form of tourism, and it stands out from other types of tourism in that people travel to places with a high population density, that time spent at the destination usually is shorter than normally spent on vacation, and that cities host a relatively large number of business and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions). In addition to being important destinations, cities have a significant role in the overall tourist system, by being gateways for international and domestic tourists, as well as being nodes in air transport systems and therefore acting as a place for stopovers in trips with multiple destinations. Further, as cities are multifunctional entities, tourists’ motivation for going can differ greatly. This multifunctionality allows for different experiences to be lived contemporarily, contributing to making the connection between urbanity, mobility, sustainability and tourism complex. As tourists’ and residents’ desires and needs intersect, cities face different demands for services and facilities. While cities are more dynamic and resilient than rural destinations, increasing tourist numbers can compromise the balance between different user-groups, possibly reducing urban quality of life. This can be observed in multiple urban tourist destinations, where overtourism is considered an increasingly important policy issue. At the same time, such ‘tourism problems’ are interlinked with wider societal issues and stakeholders in the city. With so many stakeholders involved, it is particularly challenging to engage all relevant stakeholders in governance. In fact, it can be argued that the issues involved in sustainable urban tourism are so great, that they cannot be solved within the boundaries of the current social, economic and political systems, and that a radical transition or transformation is required to come up with solutions.

In spite of its growth, urban tourism has received a disproportionately small amount of attention in academia, both from scholars of tourism, sustainable tourism and urban planning. Thus, this special issue aims at addressing more specifically the question of what sustainable urban tourism can entail. In doing so, we aim at covering all aspects of sustainability—not merely the environmental part. The journal of Sustainability has previously published two special issues of relevance in this context—on Sustainable tourism and on Sustainable cities (both in 2014). This Special Issue aims at developing further and combining the perspectives already touched upon in the two previous Special Issues. We welcome critical analyses of current urban tourism developments, as well as innovative design solutions to come to sustainable urban tourism, both in the Global North, but also in the Global South.

Prof. Carlo Aall
Dr. Ko Koens
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable tourism
  • Urban tourism
  • Smart Cities
  • Impacts of urban tourism
  • Urban tourism governance
  • Overtourism
  • Urban tourism in developing countries
  • Sustainable Development Goals and urban tourism
  • Sustainble Tourism in the New Urban Agenda
  • Urban Tourism transitions and transformations

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
The Discourse on Sustainable Urban Tourism: The Need for Discussing More Than Overtourism
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4228; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154228 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3547
Abstract
The journal Sustainability has previously published special issues on sustainable tourism and on sustainable cities (both in 2014). This special issue presents recent insights from combining the two research topics. There is some convergence with respect to core challenges that sustainable urban tourism [...] Read more.
The journal Sustainability has previously published special issues on sustainable tourism and on sustainable cities (both in 2014). This special issue presents recent insights from combining the two research topics. There is some convergence with respect to core challenges that sustainable urban tourism is facing. Firstly, relating to social sustainable development, there is the tension between the quality of life for residents in different ways and the development of cities to benefit the tourism industry. Secondly, relating to environmental sustainable development, there is the tension between residents and their desire for good local environmental standards and visiting tourists that create a number of over-tourism related local environmental problems. Thirdly, there are the challenges that so far have received less attention, but obviously are expected to become crucial in the years to come: The double climate change provides risks to cities from a changing climate and from more ambitious climate policies to come. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Is Overtourism Overused? Understanding the Impact of Tourism in a City Context
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4384; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124384 - 23 Nov 2018
Cited by 273 | Viewed by 24657
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
Article
Innovative Forms of Economy and Sustainable Urban Development—Sharing Tourism
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113919 - 28 Oct 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2338
Abstract
Sharing economy represents a new business model with an increasing impact on economic life by generating consequences for the traditional business sector. Considering its development during the last years, it is important to know how the governance system should react to the new [...] Read more.
Sharing economy represents a new business model with an increasing impact on economic life by generating consequences for the traditional business sector. Considering its development during the last years, it is important to know how the governance system should react to the new challenges determined by this kind of doing business. The aim of the article is to identify and analyze some general issues regarding the impact on the sharing economy in tourism, based on a study regarding the needs determined by this business model in Brașov. Considering that tourism is a relevant sector for the “sharing” business type, the authors considered it important to get opinions about the way that the local authorities and stakeholders should contribute to the creation of a regulatory framework for sharing tourism, so, two focus-groups were organized. The respondents were chosen so that all kinds of stakeholders involved in tourism were represented. The results of the research revealed that even though there are some provisions regarding this sector, and despite the fact that local and regional authorities are preoccupied about regulations in sharing tourism, the most representative part of this sector is unregistered and it works according to its own rules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Article
Host Perceptions of Tourism Impact and Stage of Destination Development in a Developing Country
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2300; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072300 - 03 Jul 2018
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
This study makes two important contributions to the existing literature. On the one hand, it investigated tourism impacts as perceived by residents in two important historic cities in India (Puri and Varanasi). On the other hand, it analysed residents’ perceived tourism impacts in [...] Read more.
This study makes two important contributions to the existing literature. On the one hand, it investigated tourism impacts as perceived by residents in two important historic cities in India (Puri and Varanasi). On the other hand, it analysed residents’ perceived tourism impacts in relation to their evaluation of stage of destination development. A survey collected valid responses from 570 local residents, who display a high level of agreement concerning the positive economic and sociocultural contributions of tourism. Despite environmental concerns, respondents wish to attract more tourists and further develop infrastructure for tourism. Residents who perceive tourism to be in the development and full development/stagnation stages agree more strongly than those who consider tourism to be in the beginning stage that it increases employment opportunities and seasonality and stipulates cultural activities. In contrast, those who think tourism is in the beginning stage are more concerned about environmental pollution and thus advocate restrictions on the industry. Implications are suggested for tourism research, policy making, and planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Article
The Influence of Word of Mouth on Tourism Destination Choice: Tourist–Resident Relationship and Safety Perception among Mainland Chinese Tourists Visiting Macau
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2114; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072114 - 21 Jun 2018
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3528
Abstract
The growth of urban tourism has the potential to increase tourist–resident tensions that limit the sustainable growth of tourism in many destination cities. Visitors’ perceptions of poor tourist–resident relationships and conditions of safety may have an impact on their attitudes, especially with regard [...] Read more.
The growth of urban tourism has the potential to increase tourist–resident tensions that limit the sustainable growth of tourism in many destination cities. Visitors’ perceptions of poor tourist–resident relationships and conditions of safety may have an impact on their attitudes, especially with regard to trip satisfaction. This study investigates the roles of tourist–resident relationship and safety perception on the relationship between service quality, trip satisfaction, and word of mouth (WOM). The results of this empirical study (n = 386) show that the tourist–resident relationship and safety perception have significant effects on trip satisfaction, but only safety perception reveals a significant effect on WOM. Furthermore, the results also indicate that the tourist–resident relationship and safety perception moderate the relationship between service quality and trip satisfaction, and that the tourist–resident relationship also moderates the relationship between trip satisfaction and WOM. An understanding of these mechanisms can help governments to create appropriate policies to support the sustainable development of tourism and promote their tourism industries by fostering tourists’ WOM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Article
Transformations and the Level of Tourist Function Development in Polish Voivodeship Capital Cities
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2095; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062095 - 20 Jun 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
The article discusses transformations of the tourist function in Polish voivodeship capital cities in the period between 2005–2015. The first research stage was carried out through the background of the theory of city economic base using two indicators: index of surplus workers (ISW) [...] Read more.
The article discusses transformations of the tourist function in Polish voivodeship capital cities in the period between 2005–2015. The first research stage was carried out through the background of the theory of city economic base using two indicators: index of surplus workers (ISW) and Florence specialisation coefficient (FSC). The conducted research covered employment size, structure, and changes, with a particular emphasis on employment in tourism. In the second stage of the study, based on a group of diagnostic characteristics describing the tourist functions performed by cities, taxonomic measures were constructed to determine the level of these functions’ development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Article
Barcelona, Housing Rent Bubble in a Tourist City. Social Responses and Local Policies
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2043; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062043 - 15 Jun 2018
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 5455
Abstract
Ten years after the housing bubble burst, Barcelona has experienced an increase in rental prices. This increase in prices is due to a combination of factors such as household debt, urban entrepreneurialism and the marketing of the city, evictions, investment by speculative capital, [...] Read more.
Ten years after the housing bubble burst, Barcelona has experienced an increase in rental prices. This increase in prices is due to a combination of factors such as household debt, urban entrepreneurialism and the marketing of the city, evictions, investment by speculative capital, changes in tenancy and an increase in rental housing for tourists. Overcrowding from tourists is gaining ground as a concern in multifunctional cities. Through an analysis of statistics and in-depth interviews with qualified agents, it is possible to observe how social struggles and unsustainability have outraged citizens and pitted them against overcrowding from tourism and the commodification of the city. The local administration of Barcelona has tried to respond to the situation by initiating a process of regulation through urban and tourism planning. Our analysis shows that these actions are of great importance but are not enough to alleviate some of the drawbacks, such as the shortage of rental housing and an excess of hotel beds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Article
Sustainable Urban Tourism: Reflections on the Need for Building-Related Indicators
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1981; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061981 - 13 Jun 2018
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2916
Abstract
A solid and consistent research production has, up to now, considerably contributed to the identification and exploration of the meanings, theoretical foundations, and possible implications of tourism in the cities. The focus on pursuing sustainable tourism activities has also inspired different approaches (eco-tourism, [...] Read more.
A solid and consistent research production has, up to now, considerably contributed to the identification and exploration of the meanings, theoretical foundations, and possible implications of tourism in the cities. The focus on pursuing sustainable tourism activities has also inspired different approaches (eco-tourism, responsible tourism, pro-poor tourism, among others). Nevertheless, difficulties still exist in the definition of concrete solutions to the complex problem of how to activate and facilitate the diffusion of sustainable urban tourism practices. Given the central role of indicators in the monitoring of transformation and defining impact mitigation measures, this article proposes an unexplored interpretation of such tools, which are specific for the built environment as a main component of the urban context. Starting from a broad examination of the literature on urban tourism and its related impacts, and focusing on heritage destinations, the authors highlight the potential of the built environment to play an active role in reducing the extent of potential flow impacts upstream of their actual occurrence. As a result, possible building-scale indicators that could integrate current downstream evaluation and mitigation practices are identified and suggested, and their possible implications are discussed alongside those of existing indicators. Finally, further developments for future research are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
Article
Residents’ Involvement in Urban Tourism Planning: Opportunities from a Smart City Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1852; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061852 - 02 Jun 2018
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 3036
Abstract
In this paper, we speculate that new advances in technologies will reshape tourism planning and residents engagement in many ways which subsequently will help cities to work towards sustainable urban planning practices. The paper addresses the question how should destinations prepare themselves for [...] Read more.
In this paper, we speculate that new advances in technologies will reshape tourism planning and residents engagement in many ways which subsequently will help cities to work towards sustainable urban planning practices. The paper addresses the question how should destinations prepare themselves for being ‘smart’ and responsive to co-participative tourism planning? The paper reviews the most relevant literature on the topics of resident’s attitude towards tourism, residents’ involvement and smart cities. Furthermore, examples are provided of cities who through the implementation of smart principles, plan specific domains in their cities with their residents. Important questions related to managerial challenges and residents-related challenges and set a general research avenues are set out. City planners can use this paper to start designing their strategies to effectively involve and collaborate with residents at the intersection of ICT and tourism in their cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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Article
Factors Affecting Time Spent Visiting Heritage City Areas
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061824 - 01 Jun 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1598
Abstract
Urban tourism is growing fast, and in many cities visitor influx tends to concentrate in historic urban centers. When there are large numbers of visitors, deepening the knowledge on visitor time consumption is critical to better managing their impact on the city, and [...] Read more.
Urban tourism is growing fast, and in many cities visitor influx tends to concentrate in historic urban centers. When there are large numbers of visitors, deepening the knowledge on visitor time consumption is critical to better managing their impact on the city, and creating a sustainable city tourism destination. This has generated an increasing interest in the micro-spatial and temporal dimensions of tourist behavior in city tourism research and planning. This article focuses on modelling the factors affecting the duration of visits to each heritage attraction, and to the whole visit to the heritage city. This study adds to previous research in several ways: it uses survival models; distinguishes between attractions with and without an entrance fee; and tests how visitor type affects time behavior, for example, day visitor versus tourists, peak season versus off-peak season, informed visitors versus non-informed visitors, highly motivated visitors versus visitors with low motivation. Results show that there is significant heterogeneity in time consumption. This is generated by factors such as traveling with children, cultural proximity, rating of the attraction, and price and time constraints. Some evidence is also found, which suggests first-time visitor and informed visitors have an impact on time consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
Article
Linking Importance–Performance Analysis, Satisfaction, and Loyalty: A Study of Savannah, GA
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030704 - 05 Mar 2018
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3260
Abstract
Importance–performance analysis (IPA) has been widely used to examine the relationship between importance, performance, and overall satisfaction in tourism destinations. IPA implicitly assumes that attribute performance will have little impact on overall satisfaction when stated importance is low. However, this assumption is rarely [...] Read more.
Importance–performance analysis (IPA) has been widely used to examine the relationship between importance, performance, and overall satisfaction in tourism destinations. IPA implicitly assumes that attribute performance will have little impact on overall satisfaction when stated importance is low. However, this assumption is rarely tested. This study, for the first time, tested this assumption by including attributes in each IPA quadrant into a second-order structural equation model. Results indicate that attributes with lower ratings of importance in the “low priority” and “potential overkill” quadrants do not contribute to overall satisfaction, regardless of performance, while the opposite is true for attributes in the “keep up the good work” quadrant with higher ratings of importance and performance, thus confirming the validity of this assumption. This novel approach allowed us to take a fresh look at an old debate, and the results suggest stated importance may be more useful than previously thought. Theoretical, methodological, and managerial implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Tourism)
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