Overcoming overtourism in Europe: Towards an institutional-behavioral research agenda

Maximilian Benner formerly 1
  • 1 Institute for Geography and Regional Research, Vienna University, Vienna, Austria
Maximilian Benner formerly
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute for Geography and Regional Research, Vienna University, Universitätsring 1, 1100 Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar

Abstract

A number of European tourist destinations have become the subject of a public debate on overtourism. The present article argues that problems discussed under the overtourism debate cannot be solved by limiting tourist numbers alone. Rather, the article calls for multidimensional strategies that build on a vision of qualitative tourism development shared by various coalitions of agents. Such a vision should consider which forms of tourism to encourage and which ones to discourage, and what incentives and disincentives to set. Designing and implementing these strategies raises a number of questions that can be grouped under the four dimensions of policies, organization, institutions, and behavior. Institutional approaches known from economic geography can serve to analyze the prospects of policies, and insights from behavioral economics such as the nudging approach can serve to inform policy implementation. These approaches are related to organizational and policy-related aspects of qualitative tourism development. By following the analytical framework provided by the four dimensions mentioned, the article proposes a research agenda for policy-relevant studies on curbing or preventing problems of overtourism.

  • Amir, O./Lobel, O. (2008): Stumble, predict, nudge: how behavioral economics informs law and policy. Columbia Law Review, 108(8), 2098–2137.

  • Assli, A. (2009): Northern Israel Tourism Improvement District: Executive Summary. Jerusalem: Milken Institute. Retrieved from http://milkeninnovationcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/35-ENG-SUM.pdf.

  • Bathelt, H./Glückler, J. (2014): Institutional change in economic geography. Progress in Human Geography, 38(3), 340–363.

  • Bauer, B./Duccio, C. (2019): Copysites: tourist attractions in the age of their architectural reproducibility. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 17(1), 13–26.

  • Benartzi, S./Beshears, K./Milkman, K.L./Sunstein, C.R./Thaler, R.H./Shankar, M./Tucker-Ray, W./Congdon, W.J./Galing, S. (2017): Should governments invest more in nudging? Psychological Science, 28(8), 1041–1055.

  • Benner, M. (2013): Towards a policy to promote tourism clusters. MPRA Paper No. 43924. Retrieved from http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/43924/1/MPRA_paper_43924.pdf.

  • Benner, M. (2017): From clusters to smart specialization: tourism in institution-sensitive regional development policies. Economies, 5, 26, 1–20.

  • Benner, M. (2018): Smart specialization and institutional context: towards a process of institutional discovery and change. Papers in Economic Geography and Innovation Studies 2018/03.

  • Bhargava, S./Loewenstein, G. (2015): Behavioral economics and public policy 102: beyond nudging. American Economic Review, 105(5), 396–401.

  • Britton, S. (1991): Tourism, capital, and place: towards a critical geography of tourism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 9(4), 451–478.

  • Brouder, P. (2014): Evolutionary economic geography and tourism studies: extant studies and future research directions. Tourism Geographies, 16(4), 540–545.

  • Brouder, P., Eriksson, R.H. (2013): Tourism evolution: on the synergies of tourism studies and evolutionary economic geography. Annals of Tourism Research, 43, 370–389.

  • Bruckner, R. (2018): [Tourism hotspots…] Der Standard, 5 August 2018. Retrieved from https://derstandard.at/2000085543683/Tourismus-Hotspots-Hallstatt-oder-Wachau-Hilfe-wir-sind-voll.

  • Bruckner, R./Ruep, S./Wölfl, A./Kness-Bastaroli, T./Marot, J./Rohrhofer, M. (2017): [When tourists…] Der Standard, 29 August 2017. Retrieved from https://derstandard.at/2000063266421/Wenn-Touristen-Einheimischen-auf-die-Fuesse-treten.

  • Burgen, S. (2018): [How tourism…] The Guardian, 30 August 2018. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/aug/30/why-tourism-is-killing-barcelona-overtourism-photo-essay.

  • Camerer, C./Issacharoff, S./Loewenstein, G./O’Donoghue, T./Rabin, M. (2003): Regulation for conservatives: behavioral economics and the case for “asymmetric paternalism”. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 151: 1211–1254.

  • Cohen, E. (2002): Authenticity, equity and sustainability in tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 10(4), 267–276.

  • Coldwell, W. (2017): [First Venice…] The Guardian, 10 August 2017. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/aug/10/anti-tourism-marches-spread-across-europe-venice-barcelona.

  • Dai, T./Hein, C./Zhang, T. (2019): Understanding how Amsterdam City tourism marketing addresses cruise tourists’ motivations regarding culture. Tourism Management Perspectives, 29(4), 157–165.

  • De Wit, J.G./Zuidberg, J. (2012): The growth limits of the low cost carrier model. Journal of Air Transport Management, 21, 17–23.

  • Dessart, F.J./van Bavel, R. (2017): Two converging paths: behavioural sciences and social marketing for better policies. Journal of Social Marketing 7(4), 355–365.

  • Dolnicar, S./Leisch, F. (2007): Selective marketing for environmentally sustainable tourism. Tourism Management, 29(4), 672–680.

  • Freytag, T./Glatter. J. (2017): Touristifizierung städtischer Quartiere – Synergien und Konflikte zwischen tourismusgerechter Stadt und stadtgerechtem Tourismus. Geographische Zeitschrift, 105(3–4), 163–166.

  • Gebhardt, D. (2017): Barcelona: Die Drosselung des Wachstumsmotors Tourismus? Geographische Zeitschrift, 105(3–4), 225–248.

  • Glückler, J./Bathelt, H. (2017): Institutional context and innovation. In: Bathelt H, P. Cohendet, S. Henn & L. Simon (Eds.), The Elgar Companion to Innovation and Knowledge Creation. Cheltenham, Northampton: Elgar, 121–137.

  • Glückler, J./Lenz, R. (2016): How institutions moderate the effectiveness of regional policy: A framework and research agenda. Investigaciones Regionales – Journal of Regional Research, 36, 255–277.

  • Halkier, H., Therkelsen, A. (2013): Exploring tourism destination path plascitity: the case of coastal tourism in North Jutland, Denmark. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 57(1–2), 39–51.

  • Hall, C.M. (2013): Framing behavioural approaches to understanding and governing sustainable tourism consumption: beyond neoliberalism, “nudging” and “green growth”? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(7), 1091–1109.

  • Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162(3859), 1243–1248.

  • Higgins-Desbiolles, F. (2018): Sustainable tourism: sustaining tourism or something more? Tourism Management Perspectives, 25, 157–160.

  • Hunter, C. (1997): Sustainable tourism as an adaptive paradigm. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(4), 850–867.

  • Ioannides, D./Halkier, H./Lew, A.A. (2014): Special issue introduction: evolutionary economic geography and the economies of tourism destinations. Tourism Geographies, 16(4), 535–539.

  • Job, H. (1996): Modell zur Evaluation der Nachhaltigkeit im Tourismus. Erdkunde, 50(2), 112–132.

  • Juvan, E./Dolnicar, S. (2014): The attitude–behaviour gap in sustainable tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 48, 76–95.

  • Juvan, E./Dolnicar, S. (2017): Drivers of pro-environmental tourist behaviours are not universal. Journal of Cleaner Production, 166(10): 879–890.

  • Kachniewska, M. (2013): Towards the definition of a tourism cluster. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 9(1), 33–56.

  • Kallbekken, S./Sælen, H. (2013): Nudging hotel guests to reduce food waste as a win-win environmental measure. Economic Letters, 119(3), 325–327.

  • Kahneman, D. (2011): Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Karlsson, L./Dolnicar, S. (2016): Someone’s been sleeping in my bed. Research Notes and Reports/Annals of Tourism Research, 58, 156–170.

  • Kester, J.G.C. (2003): Cruise tourism. Tourism Economics, 9(3), 337–350.

  • Koens, K./Postma, A./Papp, B. (2018): Is overtourism overused? Understanding the impact of tourism in a city context. Sustainability, 10, 4384, 1–15.

  • Krueger, A.O. (1974): The political economy of the rent-seeking society. The American Economic Review, 64(3), 291–230.

  • Lichrou, M./O’Malley, L./Patterson, M. (2017): Making Santorini: reflecting on the past, imagining the future. Journal of Place Management and Development, 10(2), 106–120.

  • Lindberg, K., McCool, S., Stankey, G. (1997): Rethinking carrying capacity. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(2), 461–465.

  • Lourenço, J.S./Ciriolo, E./Rafael Almeida, S./Troussard, X. (2016): Behavioural insights applied to policy: European Report 2016. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

  • Ma, M./Hassink, R. (2014): Path dependence and tourism area development: the case of Guilin, China. Tourism Geographies, 16(4), 580–597.

  • Martin, R./Sunley, P. (2006). Path dependence and regional economic evolution. Journal of Economic Geography 6(4): 395–437.

  • Martín Martín, J.M./Guaita Martínez, J.M./Salinas Fernández, J.A. (2018): An analysis of the factors behind the citizen’s attitude of rejection towards tourism in a context of overtourism and economic dependence on this activity. Sustainability, 10, 2851, 1–18.

  • Martins, M. (2018): Tourism planning and tourismphobia: an analysis of the strategic tourism plan of Barcelona 2010–2015. Journal of Tourism, Heritage & Services Marketing, 4(1), 3–7.

  • Marzetti Dall’Aste Brandolini, S., Disegna, M. (2012): Demand for the quality conservation of Venice, Italy, according to different nationalities. Tourism Economics, 18(5), 1019–1050.

  • McCool, S.F., Lime, D.W. (2001): Tourism carrying capacity: tempting fantasy or useful reality? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 9(5), 372–388.

  • Meadows, D.H./Meadows, D.L./Randers, J./Behrens, W.W. III. (1972): The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: Universe Books.

  • Middleton, V.C./Hawkins, R. (1998): Sustainable Tourism: A Marketing Perspective. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

  • Milano, C. (2018): Overtourism, malestar social y turismofobia. Un debate controvertido. Pasos Revista de Turismu y Patrimonio Cultural, 16(3), 551–564.

  • Ministry of Tourism (Ed.) (2018): Tourism in Figures. Retrieved from https://mint.gov.hr/UserDocsImages//AA_2018_c-dokumenti//180608_HTZTUBENG_2017.PDF.

  • Mitchell, R./Charters, S./Albrecht, J.N. (2012): Cultural systems and the wine tourism product. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(1), 311–335.

  • Molotch, H. (1976): The city as a growth machine: toward a political economy of place. American Journal of Sociology, 82(2), 309–332.

  • Muler Gonzalez, V./Coromina, L./Galí, N. (2018): Overtourism: residents’ perceptions of tourism impact as an indicator of resident social carrying capacity – case study of a Spanish heritage town. Tourism Review, 73(3), 277–296.

  • Neuhold, T. (2019): [In the city of Salzburg…] Der Standard, 22 January 2019. Retrieved from https://derstandard.at/2000096751943/In-der-Stadt-Salzburg-wird-der-Tagestourimus-zum-Fluch.

  • O’Reilly, A.M. (1986): Tourism carrying capacity: concept and issues. Tourism Management, 7(4), 254–258.

  • Panayiotopoulos, A./Pisano, C. (2019): Overtourism dystopias and socialist utopias: towards an urban armature for Dubrovnik. Tourism Planning & Development, DOI: 10.1080/21568316.2019.1569123.

  • Priority Actions Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan/UNEP (Eds.) (1997): Guidelines for Carrying Capacity Assessment for Tourism in Mediterranean Coastal Areas. Split: Priority Action Programme.

  • Reule, M./Tafel, M./Szolnoki, G. (2019): Wirtschaftliche Bedeutung und Charakterisierung von Touristen in der Weinregion Rheingau. Presentation held at the Rheingau conference, 14 Januar 2019. Retrieved from http://www.kulturland-rheingau.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Wein/Rundschreiben/2019_Mitgliederinformation/2019-01-14-Rheingau-Konferenz-Bedeutung-Tourismus.pdf.

  • Saarinen, J. (2014): Critical sustainability: setting the limits to growth and responsibility in tourism. Sustainability, 6, 1–17.

  • Sanz-Ibáñez, C./Clavé, S. A. (2014): The evolution of destinations: towards an evolutionary and relational economic geography approach. Tourism Geographies, 16(4), 563–579.

  • Sarantakou, E./Terkenli, T.S. (2019): Non-institutionalized forms of tourism accommodation and overtourism impacts on the landscape: the case of Santorini, Greece. Tourism Planning & Development, 16(4), 411–433.

  • Schmidt, A.T. (2017): The power to nudge. American Political Science Review, 111(2): 404–417.

  • Seraphin, H., Sheeran, P./Pilato, M. (2018): Over-tourism and the fall of Venice as a destination. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 9, 374–376.

  • Thaler, R.H./Sunstein, C.R. (2003): Libertarian paternalism. American Economic Review, 93(2), 175–179.

  • Thaler, R.H./Sunstein, C.R. (2008): Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

  • Troussard, X./van Bavel, R. (2018): How can behavioural insights be used to improve EU policy? Intereconomics, 53(1), 8–12.

  • UNWTO (Ed.) (1983): Risks of Saturation Or Tourist Carrying Capacity Overload in Holiday Destinations. Madrid: World Tourism Organization.

  • UNWTO (Ed.) (2011): Tourism Towards 2030: Global Overview. Madrid: World Tourism Organization.

  • UNWTO (Ed.) (2013): Sustainable Tourism for Development Guidebook. Madrid: World Tourism Organization.

  • UNTWO (Ed.) (2019): “Overtourism”? Understanding and Managing Urban Tourism Growth beyond Perceptions: Executive Summary. Madrid: World Tourism Organization.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

The primary focus of the German Journal for Economic Geography (ZFW) is on theory-led empirical research about spatial economic structures and regional dynamics. ZFW, which is the only scientific journal on Economic Geography in German speaking countries, addresses scientists and students as well as decision makers in private firms and economic promotion agencies.

Search