Overtourism. There were times this term didn't exist. But times have changed. Terms such as 'overtourism', 'tourismphobia' and 'flying shame' seem to have reached the news lately. Key attractions are being restricted or closed. And for a reason. We all know the examples of Barcelona, Venice and Amsterdam. The number of global tourists has increased substantially. Take the Chinese or the Indians as examples of increasing middle-classes who have the spending power to travel. And they do - massively. Increased mobility, more affordable transport and accommodation options will continue to stimulate increased demand for urban travel. But fragile ecosystems are suffering from the footprints of tourists and thus the 'carrying capacity' of tourist destinations is being challenged.
You would almost get the impression that tourism is only 'bad news' nowadays, predicting an uncertain future. Fortunately a lot of effort has come into swing by managing tourism streams in order to tackle or at least reduce the problem of overtourism. Globally by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in cooperation with national authorities and other major stakeholders, but also regionally and locally. To give an example: Recently Amsterdam & Partners - the marketing organization for Amsterdam piloted 'Live Lines' - providing visitors with an overview of live queue times at 10 museums in the Amsterdam Metropolitan area. This in direct response to the growing number of visitors to the city, and the equally growing issue of queuing times across some of Amsterdam's most popular attractions resulting in people spending more time outside than inside the attraction (Amsterdam & Partners, 2018). Although much smaller and less touristic, also a destination such as Breda here in the southern part of The Netherlands is also studying on ways to manage the future tourism influx into the city and its surroundings in order to keep things pleasant for the city's different stakeholders (Smart City Breda, 2019).
But according to Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili -Secretary-General of the UNWTO - addressing the challenges urban tourism is facing today is a still a much more complex task than is commonly recognized. There is a pressing need to set a sustainable roadmap for urban tourism (UNWTO, 2018). At the same time, let's not forget that tourism is one of the few economic sectors that is still growing around the world, resulting in employment and socio-economic development. So tourism is also 'good news' with the aspiration for a more balanced situation.
This year's edition of the ACEEPT project week will focus on the above subjects and approaches to destination management and the marketing-efforts that are necessary to make tourism destinations more future-proof.
The specific tasks for the project week can be found in the menu structure on the right side of this page.
Gemeente Breda (2018), Smart City Breda [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://smartcityupdate.nl/static/files/tinymce/uploads/ gemeente%20breda%20presentatie.pdf
Koens, K., & Postma, A. (2018). Understanding and Managing Visitor Pressure in Urban Tourism: A study into the nature of and methods used to manage visitor pressure in six major European cities. Breda: Centre of Expertise Leisure Tourism & Hospitality.
Koens, K. et al. (2018). Visitor Pressure and Events in an Urban Setting: Understanding and managing visitor pressure in seven European urban tourism destinations. Breda: Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality.
Peeters et al. (2018). Research for TRAN Committee - Overtourism: impact and possible policy responses. Brussels: European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies.
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Centre of Expertise Leisure - Tourism & Hospitality, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, & NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. (2018). 'Overtourism'? - Understanding and Managing Urban Tourism Growth beyond Perceptions, Executive Summary. Madrid: UNWTO.