Challenges for Urban Tourism in a Post-Pandemic World

Challenges for Urban Tourism in a Post-Pandemic World

José Dias Lopes, Ângela Lopes, Antónia Correia, João Pedro Portugal
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3369-0.ch015
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Urban tourism has particularities that distinguish it from other forms of tourism. The urban tourist wants to enjoy the city, its monuments, its environment, its cuisine, its events. The tourist will always be an outsider to the city, someone who will enjoy an area that is not designed specifically for tourism. But the tourist does not have to be a stranger in the city. The pandemic affected urban tourism in a more “violent” way. However, the pandemic has not affected the pull factors of cities – the cuisine, the monuments, the events, the vibe are still there waiting to be enjoyed. They will be, and city tourism will return with full vigor. This chapter argues that the quest for sustainability and change supported by a disruptive set of new technologies and the consequent skill shifts will possibly affect urban tourism intensely. These new trends have the potential to give rise to different solutions than those that have been attempted in the past. We will see if we can better reconcile cities with their tourists to the benefit of all.
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Urban Tourism

Urban tourism is embedded in prejudice as it is mostly considered a negative externality (Biagi, Ladu, Meleddu, & Royuela, 2020; Liu, 2013). The discussion around this topic unveils problems that urban tourism could bring, such as over-tourism, anti-tourism, touristification, and tourism gentrification (Yubero, Condeço-Melhorado, García-Hernández, & Fontes, 2021), all of which relates to the over-tourism problem.

According to UNWTO, Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (2018), over-tourism is defined as “the impact of tourism on a destination, or parts thereof, that excessively influences perceived quality of life of citizens and/or quality of visitors experiences in a negative way” (p.4). It is consensual that over-tourism pressures the short-term stays (Ashworth, & Page, 2011; Carvalho, Chamusca, Fernandes, & Pinto, 2019; González, 2011) and deteriorate the quality of life for city dwellers, by increasing noise levels, overcrowding, pollution, restraining access to certain public spaces and increasing the cost of living (Gonia, & Jezierska-Thöle, 2022). Nevertheless, this doesn’t have to be only a negative standpoint, as most of those impacts are inflated by residents' perceptions that were educated to perceive tourists as persona non grata (e. g. Aall, & Koens, 2019; Koodsela, Dong, & Sukpatch, 2019). Some authors (such as García-Hernández, de la Calle-Vaquero, & Yubero, 2017; Aall, & Koens, 2019 and Yubero et al., 2021) posited that the hyper-emphasis on tourists impacts and this tourism-phobia should be considered to mitigate the over-tourism mysticism.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Challenges: Factor or a key issue of the macro environment that can negatively influence or impact the performance of a company, destination or type of tourism.

Digital Transition: The adoption of new processes or business models and/or the creation of new products based on a new set of disruptive technologies such as big data, augmented reality, among others.

Sustainability: A governance and management system model that implies a balanced consumption of the different components of the territory, namely the economics, the socio cultural context and the environment, allowing the oportunity of future generations to satisfy its own needs.

COVID-19: The disease provoked by the new coronavirus and the designation of the consequent pandemic.

Over-Tourism: A situation where the carrying capacity has been exceeded which negatively impacts in different components of the tourist destination.

Urban Tourism: A form of tourism in which the city or urban area is the specific geography where the tourist performs a set of activities and consumption based on the existing resources.

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