Lisbon Historic Quarters: Identity vs. Overtourism

Lisbon Historic Quarters: Identity vs. Overtourism

Cláudia Helena Henriques (University of Algarve, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2224-0.ch015


This chapter contributes to the emergent debate about sustainable tourism versus overtourism, in the context of urban development. The study underlines, on one hand, the growing importance of tourism in the historic quarters of Lisbon, and on the other hand the rise of overtourism and its effects on residents' quality of life. Consequently, there is the analysis and debate regarding the policies responses of the Lisbon Council in the framework of an integrated urban rehabilitation in Lisbon's historic quarters and the Lisbon Council Strategy.
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Travel & Tourism (T&T) is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economic sectors (WTTC, 2019). In 2018, it represented 3.2% of World GDP (direct contribution) and is forecast to rise by 3.6% in 2019. Additionally, it is expected to continuing to grow by 2029 (WTTC, 2019).

The tourism importance, it’s exponential growth and recent overcrowded territories, enhance several impacts both in local ‘community and business’, and tourists. Accordingly, “overtourism” – as a phenomenon created by “the perfect storm of budget airlines, short-term rental websites, and social media” (Loudis, 2018) led to tourist demand concentration associated with crowded/overcrowded territories. Once the problem, “has largely been ignored” (Neuts & NijKamp, 2012; in Jacobsen, Iversen & Hem, 2019: 53) an emphasis in tourism planning and management is urgently required.

In this context, this paper aims at investigating the growing importance of overtourism in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, and its central historic quarters, namely Alfama, Mouraria e Bairro Alto. Regarding the methodological framework, firstly it begins discussing concepts such as “crowded/overcrowed” as well as “overtourism”. Consequently, it examines the tourism policy/strategy in European cities, namely related to the rise of “tourismophobia” or “tourismophilia”. Additionally, it also highlights the main challenges of tourism planning and management in order to overcome the negative impacts of overtourism.

Regarding the methodological framework, it is based on a case study analysis. Firstly, it puts in evidence Lisbon tourism market characteristics. Secondly, it discusses local policy concerns regarding tourism and historic quarters “overtourism” impacts. In accordance, documentary research on Lisbon’s tourism policy is discussed fundamentally based on Municipality documents. Finally, the main conclusions are presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tourismophobia: Aversion to tourism and tourists.

Overtourism: Associated to concepts such as “crowded” or “overcrowded” destinations.

Sustainability: Associated to principles such as conservation, preservation, equity, long term, partnerships (see Agenda 2030 AU99: The in-text citation "Agenda 2030" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

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