Overtourism: Impacts on Residents' Quality of Life – Evidence From Macau

Overtourism: Impacts on Residents' Quality of Life – Evidence From Macau

Hio Kuan Lai (Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve, Portugal), Patrícia Pinto (Faculty of Economics, Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-Being (CinTurs), University of Algarve, Portugal) and Pedro Pintassilgo (Faculty of Economics, CEFAGE, University of Algarve, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2224-0.ch005

Abstract

The concept of overtourism has been popularly discussed in recent years, upon local residents starting to recognize the tourism disturbances in some high-profile destinations. For a sustainable tourism development, it is crucial to investigate potential impacts of overtourism towards the local residents living in the destination. Thus, this chapter employs the existing academic work on quality of life (QoL) concepts, to examine the correlations between residents' perception of tourism's impact to them in material, community, emotional, and health & safety life domains, and their satisfaction with QoL in corresponding life domains, and their overall life satisfaction. This chapter involves a survey taken place in Macau, which represents a case of plausible overtourism. The research reveals that residents who perceived more negative impact from tourism on QoL, were more unsatisfied with QoL. Thus, tourism planners and policy makers should be aware of such threat on sustainable tourism development and search out a solution balancing different stakeholders in overtourism destinations.
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Introduction

Sustainability has been a prevalent topic of interest in regard of tourism destination development (Buckley, 2012; Kuščer & Mihalič, 2019; Lu & Nepal, 2009). Additionally, in response to the growing importance of community involvement in the tourism sector, the research on residents’ perception of tourism’s impact has also proliferate recently (Nunkoo, 2016; Nunkoo & Ramkissoon, 2011; Uysal, Sirgy, Woo, & Kim, 2016; Woosnam, 2012). However, while the host community's participation is being recognized in sustaining tourism development, it is quite discomfiting that the term “overtourism” has cropped up lately. Overtourism can be explained as the tourism impact that immensely and negatively affects residents’ perception of quality of life (QoL) and/or the quality of tourists’ experience (UNWTO, 2018). The term overtourism has just been popularly used for around two years yet the problematic phenomenon has been a research topic for more than 30 years (Perkumiene & Pranskuniene, 2019). Among the host community of a destination, the residents are the stakeholders largely and directly affected by tourism development (Li & Wan, 2017). Their imbalance perceptions between the positive and negative impacts derived from tourism paves the way for the rise of overtourism (Gonzalez, Coromina, & Galí, 2018), which is a sign of failure on sustainable tourism development.

Most definitions of overtourism concern about the worsening of residents’ QoL (e.g. Oxford Dictionary, 2019; Responsible Tourism, 2019; UNWTO, 2018). Hence, the authors aim to contribute to the literature by testing the existing QoL construct in an overtourism destination. This study examines the correlations among residents’ perception of tourism’s impact and satisfaction in material, community, emotional, and health & safety life domains, together with their overall life satisfaction. Considering that case studies of overtourism were mostly done in Europe (e.g. Gonzalez, Coromina, & Galí, 2018; Kuščer & Mihalič, 2019; Seraphin, Sheeran, & Pilato, 2018), this study makes an attempt to specify the examination of the phenomena in an Asian city - Macau (China), where overtourism has been a topic of interest for government officials, lawmakers and the wider public in recent years (Macau Daily Times, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quality of Life: Individuals’ view on their living conditions and how such conditions affect their satisfaction in different life domains and overall life satisfaction.

Tourists: People who visit a place other than their usual place of residence for more than 24 hours but less than a consecutive year for business, leisure or other personal purposes.

Overtourism: Tourism impact that immensely and negatively affects residents’ life and/or tourists’ experience.

Travel and Tourism GDP Contribution: The total contribution comprises of the direct, indirect and induced effects derived from of Travel and Tourism economic activities.

Special Administrative Region (SAR): A region in China that maintains separate legal, administrative and judicial systems from the rest of the country. There are two SARs in China - Hong Kong and Macau.

Visitor: People who visit a place other than their usual place of residence for less than a consecutive year for business, leisure or other personal purposes.

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