New research from the United Nations has shown that many residents in European cities suffering from ‘overtourism’ do not think tourism caps are necessary.
The UN World Tourism Report surveyed a sample of 2,638 residents of six cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon and Munich, revealing that 30 per cent think “there should be no limitations to the growth of visitor numbers” in their city.
23.8 per cent of respondents also said “there is still room for visitor numbers to grow further”.
Only 2 per cent said “all tourism development should be stopped”, which is encouraging news for the industry, but some citizens did express further concerns
13 per cent said “the growth of visitor numbers should be slowed down” and 12.7 per cent expressed that there was room for numbers to grow but “not in holiday flats”.
A further 13.8 per cent said there was room for growth but “not in the peak season”.
All up, 54 per cent of respondents had a positive response to tourism growth in their city, reports Skift, which is surprising seeing as the report also points out that more than 1.3 billion people took an overseas trip in 2017, marking a record high.
Europe has been hit by the second biggest increase, with 671.1 million international arrivals last year, an eight per cent increase year-on-year.
Skift reports Amsterdam, Barcelona and Lisbon have all taken steps to manage or limit tourism growth, with residents protesting against tourism growth over the past year.
On the plus side, respondents also said they noticed a greater international atmosphere, a more positive image, more events, and protection and restoration of historical parts of the city and traditional architecture as a result of tourism.
But residents also expressed concerns over the negative aspects, including increased housing prices, taxi fares, retail prices, public transport costs and cafe and restaurant prices.
The UN World Tourism Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said “Governance is key” when it comes to tourism.
“Addressing the challenges facing urban tourism today is a much more complex issue than is commonly recognized,” Pololikashvili said in a statement.
“We need to set a sustainable roadmap for urban tourism and place tourism in the wider urban agenda.”
Respondents showed support for a range of solutions, including involving local residents and businesses in tourism planning, better communication with visitors on how to behave in cities, encouraging people to travel in off-peak times and creating more integrative tourism activities involving local experiences.
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