The Development of a Scale to Measure Tourism-Phobia: An Exploratory Case of Residents in Majorca

The Development of a Scale to Measure Tourism-Phobia: An Exploratory Case of Residents in Majorca

Francisco Rejón-Guardia (University of the Balearic Islands, Spain), Nataša Marković (University of the Balearic Islands, Spain) and María Antonia García-Sastre (University of the Balearic Islands, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2224-0.ch012


The Balearic Islands in general, and Majorca in particular play a significant role in Spanish tourism but the tremendous growth in the number of tourists has led to the deterioration of the environment, a notable decrease in tourist satisfaction, and is having a negative impact on the welfare of residents. Aversion to and rejection of tourism among residents is popularly called tourism-phobia. This chapter studies the negative aspects which over-tourism is causing in the perception of both native and foreign residents of Majorca, as well as to propose a scale developed to measure tourism-phobia. Data for the study was gathered through a questionnaire, with a total of 149 valid responses. An exploratory factor analysis revealed four main underlying dimensions of tourism-phobia encompassing a number of different variables. The aim is for the scale to be used as part of continuous analysis of sustainable tourism development in Majorca, as well as in other destinations saturated by tourism.
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Due to the growing importance of travel and tourism in society and the escalating number of international tourists, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) declared 2017 as the international year for the development of sustainable tourism (Boulding, 2018). The UNWTO defines sustainable tourism as a type of tourism “that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities” (UNEP & UNWTO, 2005; pg. 11). The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and UNWTO (2005) state that guidelines and management principles for the sustainable development of tourism are applicable everywhere, regardless of the type of destination, tourism, number of tourists, and so on. However, due to the high number of visitors to specific tourist destinations and increasing numbers of parties interested in monetizing visitor flow, the sustainable development of the tourism sector is under threat.

Despite this declaration, 2017 was a milestone year concerning aversion towards holidaymakers in many European seaside destinations, and the terms “over-tourism” and “tourism-phobia” started to appear in the press worldwide (Arteaga & Hernández, 2017). Local communities began to draw attention to everyday problems caused by tourist invasions and started protesting against them (Goldstein, 2017). This chapter focuses on this issue and investigates overtourism from the perspective of residents. The study is centered on evaluating residents' fears about sustainability, encompassing different dimensions: environmental, legal, safety, loss of identity, and so forth.

The paper is structured as follows: first, a parallel is drawn between tourism growth in Spain and the Balearics and anti-tourism acts; secondly, a literature review describes the theory of tourism and the development of tourism-phobia; thirdly, the research method, consisting of the generation of scale items and the distribution of the questionnaire is explained. In the next section, data purification, the demography of respondents, and the results are described, followed by a discussion of the main findings from the analysis. Finally, the key findings, limitations, and ideas for future investigation are presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tourism-phobia: The fear, aversion or social rejection that local citizens in a destination feel towards tourists.

Segregation: The separation of two or more groups into different neighborhoods, sorting based on some criteria populations (e.g. nationality, income, race).

Irritation index: An index based on local residents’ negative attitudes towards the development of tourism.

Saturated destinations: Overcrowded destinations caused by too many tourists.

Overtourism: The subjective belief of residents that there are too many visitors.

Anti-tourism: The sentiment and intellectual attitude of residents expressing social anxiety toward tourism.

Acculturation: A process of cultural change which occurs when one prevailing culture modifies other cultures.

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