By Staff Reporter
UNWTO on Tuesday (18 September 2018) launched a report that is seeking among other things to help manage growing urban tourism flows and their impact on cities and residents.
The report which is titled “Overtourism, Understanding and managing urban tourism growth beyond perceptions” was launched during the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, which took place from 16th to the 19th September in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
According to the UNWTO, the report examines how to manage tourism in urban destinations to the benefit of visitors and residents alike. It proposes eleven strategies and 68 measures to help understand and manage visitor growth.
The report is the result of collaboration between UNWTO, the Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH), Breda University of Applied Sciences and the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) of NHL Stenden University of Applied sciences.
UNWTO secretary general Zurab Pololikashvili said there is need to set up a sustainable roadmap for urban tourism to ensure local communities benefit from it.
“Governance is key. Addressing the challenges facing urban tourism today is a much more complex issue than is commonly recognized.
“We need to set a sustainable roadmap for urban tourism and place tourism in the wider urban agenda.
“We must also ensure local communities see and benefit from the positive aspects of tourism,” he said.
UNWTO says the recent growth of urban tourism requires the sector to ensure sustainable policies and practices that minimize adverse effects of tourism on the use of natural resources, infrastructure, mobility and congestion, as well as its socio-cultural impact.
To better understand visitor management challenges in urban contexts, particularly the relationship between residents and visitors, the report includes an analysis of residents’ perceptions towards tourism in eight European cities – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Munich, Salzburg and Tallinn.
Dr Ko Koens from CELTH said “there is no one-size-fits-all solution to deal with Overtourism. Instead, tourism needs to be part of a city-wide strategy for sustainable development”.
The report recommends a common strategic vision among all stakeholders involved, bringing residents and visitors together and adopting careful planning which respects the limits of capacity and the specificities of each destination.
According to Professor Albert Postma from CELTH and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, “the involvement and support of local residents are key to achieving sustainable tourism”.
A researcher Bernadett Papp added that “building shared responsibility amongst stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in tourism development is a key for ensuring long-term sustainability”.