Overtourism : identifying the underlying causes and tensions in European tourism destinations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Overtourism is a much-debated topic in academic literature and among policy makers. The discussions have led to insights into the different aspects of overtourism, but the focus has largely remained on finding solutions for the direct, and often short-term, effects of (over)tourism faced by cities "in general", rather than identifying and solving the underlying causes and tensions. To take this needed step, it is essential to be aware that the causes, tensions and impacts related to (over)tourism, the interaction between the city's stakeholders as well as the issues outside tourism that a city is facing are all context specific. A way to identify the underlying causes and tensions in a specific city is to utilize the Smart City Hospitality Framework. The framework, which merges the concepts of sustainable development and city hospitality, provides a diversity of lenses to frame specific tensions that fit within a local context and, as a result, support a contextualized analysis of impacts and intervention strategies of city tourism. In this chapter we utilize the framework to analyse the role of tourism in three European cities (Gothenburg, Darmstadt and Warsaw), each with a different relation to tourism. A deliberate choice was made here to not focus on major tourism cities that are commonly associated with overtourism, to highlight how tensions related to overtourism are also appearing in cities where "in general" there still seems to be room for an increase in tourism numbers. The cases make clear that, also in these cities, the problematic relationship between tourism and the liveability of cities for local stakeholders, as well as the lack of equality with regard to the distribution of benefits and disadvantages, (start to) harm the sustainability of urban tourism development. The cases also highlight the disillusionment of people with the extent to which their voice is heard and taken seriously. In the discussion we identify a number of avenues for further research and experimentation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Research Agenda for Urban Tourism
EditorsJan van der Borg
Place of PublicationNorthampton
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Limited
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781789907407
ISBN (Print)978178990 7391
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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