Tourism Theories and Practices Assessment 3
Write an essay in which you first explain why the phenomenon of ‘overtourism’ (also referred to as ‘anti-tourism’) has emerged to become a significant issue for certain tourism destinations pre-COVID19, and, second, suggest ways by which relevant tourism stakeholder organisations (at global, national and local levels), could help to prevent this issue from re-occurring post- COVID19.
Overtourism or anti-tourism refers to an organised ‘social protest movement’ that emerges due to increasingly hostile reactions by local citizens towards tourists and tourism development and activity. It has been particularly obvious over the past few years in popular destinations such as Barcelona, Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin and other significant tourist destinations. There are also indications that at many other destinations such as Bali and Byron Bay, local residents are becoming less tolerant of tourists and the impacts that they bring.
The extreme downturn in tourism during COVID19 has highlighted the importantance of tourism to destinations worldwide and its important and positive contributions to global and local economies and communities. COVID19 has brought about an opportunity for tourism practitioners to learn and reflect on how restarted tourism economies should be changed and managed effectively and fairly to avoid a return to overtourism/anti-tourism by addressing its root causes.
Your essay will need to define what overtourism is; provide examples of where it was occurring and what its effects were; discuss the effects of COVID19 on tourism and tourism destinations and identify ways by which relevant stakeholders within the whole tourism system could maximise the benefits of tourism in a post-COVID19 world to avoid a return to overtourism.
You will need to use the relevant literature to develop your ideas and arguments. Again, the text book is expected to be frequently referenced as there are numerous theories and concepts that can be discussed in relation to overtourism, just like in Assessment 2. These may include the sustainability concept and its indicators, mass tourism, including sociocultural and environmental management approaches, tourist attraction theory and economic benefits and costs, tourist typology and tourism marketing approaches, for example. Other important resources will be the WTO site and other tourism and destination management organisations, as well as credible discussion sites such as the Conversation.
Overtourism is termed as the overgrowth of tourists leading to overcrowding in regions where citizens suffer the effects of seasonal and temporary tourism peaks that have changed their lives, leisure facilities and overall well-being permanently (Capocchi et al., 2020). The argument is that over-tourism is harming the environment, ruining beaches, putting immense pressure on utilities, and pricing off the property market for locals. It is an incredible dilemma which is sometimes oversimplified. The indicators of over-tourism are when nature is pushed away when visitors cannot see landmarks due to the crowds and when fragile habitats are degraded (Dodds & Butler, 2018). This assessment aims at highlighting the phenomenon of “over-tourism” causing a substantial issue in many tourist destinations pre-COVID-19. Also, it deals with the analysis of ways that can be used by tourism stakeholders to prevent issues caused by over-tourism for the affective experience of both local citizens and tourists after COVID-19.
In the world press, tourism is now one of the key central figures of COVID-19 outside the global health domain. The existence of the tourist industry means that tourism even has led to the transmission of the disease (by over-tourism) and the impacts of the disease have been encountered in all areas of the trade and supply cycles of the tourist industry (Hoque et al., 2020). The global influence of the outbreak and the use of traditional disease controls in the context of quarantine decreased mobility and isolation had a significant impact on both domestic and international tourism, including a host of sector-specific influences, including shipping, transportation and booking services, hotels, restaurants, conferences and activities, and attractions. COVID-19 has had a huge effect on global political, economic and socio-cultural processes (Wachyuni & Kusumaningrum, 2020). Tourism is accustomed to and has been resilient in battling back from diverse disasters and emergencies as a highly sensitive sector to various natural, diplomatic, socio-economic threats. The essence, the extraordinary circumstances and implications of COVID-19, however, indicate a sign that not only is this situation-specific but that tourist industry as a socio-economic operation will experience deep and long-term systemic and disruptive changes (Wachyuni & Kusumaningrum, 2020).
The largely affected tourist destinations by over-tourism are Barcelona, Berlin and Venice. In general, Barcelona is at the heart of these growing concerns about the fast expansion of city tourism, particularly during peaks holiday times (Goodwin, 2017). Destination Barcelona reports that, relative to residents of 1,725,137, there were 31m overnight tourist’s as seen in the last few years (Rico et al., 2019). In terms of economics, one of the acute issues faced by Barcelona is the rising increase in house prices, as tourist apartment rental revenue is at least four times greater than typical lease systems, displacing residents who have resided in their communities throughout their lives (Blanco et al., 2018). The town centre and its surrounding properties near coastal habitats such as Barcelona are the places negatively affected by gentrification cycles, property speculation, rent rises. This has created major conflict between citizens and visitors, coupled with social demonstrations by citizens insisting that 'the municipal government better monitor and regulate the legalisation of tourist housing programs while also reducing the existing violent real estate development strategies.' In response, the Community Assembly for Sustainability sponsored residents with a view to the city's latest tourism model: exploring the restriction on existing hotels, auditing public-private tourist entities and defending public land from the tourism operation (Blanco et al., 2018).
The Specific Urban Project for Tourist Accommodation (PEUAT) introduced by the town council in 2017 had been a visionary in the introduction of the modern town development that defines four zones centred on the allocation of lodging with unique guidelines and contexts; the proportion of tourist dwellings provided and the host community; relationships and circumstances under which particular uses are permitted; the effect on public areas of activities; and the existence of tourism destinations (Lambea, 2017). Each zone is liable for each function, such as not building up new premises in zone 1 to accomplish negative development, not expanding existing premises in zone 2, while encouraging the construction and extension of premises in zone 3, and complete conversion in zone 4. This policy change for monitoring commercial operation and tax responsibilities of intermediary sites, mistitled as cooperative, will be triggered in 2018 by the Spanish Tax Office, requiring that tourist residential tenancies sites including such Airbnb disclose information on their customers who market tourist rentals (Lambea, 2017). Briefly, as a part of sustainability, when adopting policies aimed at tourist dispersal, tourist clustering and those where new destinations and amenities are created more efficiently, Barcelona city council must consider the concept of carrying capacity for specific regions and attractions (Blázquez et al., 2019).
A Tourism Region Cycle of Evolution (TACE) model, as described by Butler (1980), was developed to determine five key stages of growth in a tourist area from the discovery stage where there are very few non-local tourists with no special facility available for tourists to stagnate when the number of tourists reaches the general residents and the level of capability of the destination (Singh, 2020). There are multiple options that a destination can undergo after the stagnation stage: decrease or reinvigoration (Kruczek et al., 2018). In the case of Barcelona, first of all, with the comparatively small population of 1.5 million in the region, the number of non-local tourists is 3 times higher as compared to the city per year (Koroglu et al., 2019). Next, in recent times, the city has endured a huge spike as a tourism destination and now begins to pose concerns including the increase in renting of homes, lack of neighbourhood identification, and pollution as it approaches the height of its carrying capacity, thus undermining its viability (Hughes, 2018). Tourism congestion in such tourist attractions as Barcelona is partially due to its "too" assets on the grounds of the entire tourism infrastructure, such as its beautiful beaches, Europe's sports centre for recreational and holiday visitors, and MICE for commercial tourism, which ranks third following Paris and Berlin concerning business tourism (Hughes, 2018).
Since Barcelona was suffering extensively from air pollution by commercial ships, the environmental consequences resulted from overcapacity. Because of the practices of entering cruise ships operating on fuel oil, which produces much more sulphur oxide as compared to ordinary diesel, Barcelona was designated the number one contaminated coastal city in Europe (Ruiz et al., 2019). Cruise ships that visit emit about four times much more sulphur oxide like all Barcelona vehicles. New alternate sources of power, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), have been chosen to reduce air emissions with the assistance of the CEF Initiative of the European Union and the collaborators of the Ports of Barcelona (Vayá et al., 2018). As it satisfies two criteria, a move to more environmentally sustainable fuel supplies is of great significance. Attributed to the combination of Europe's first-ever big gas processing plant at the coast owned and maintained by Enagás, a federal property by Spanish energy corporation, the Port of Barcelona has had the benefit of an adequate supply of CNG and CNG. Further, LNG is expected to remove sulphur dioxide emissions and substantially decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) concentrations, which are 80% smaller than petrol and gasoline, thus mitigating air contamination (Rico et al., 2019). While alternative site/ of fuel could mitigate the impact of air *emissions, if all parties concentrate more on improving technologies to allow the use of sustainable energy such as solar energy, it will be a more desirable scenario (Vayá et al., 2018).
In social terms, the lack of local autonomy is yet another hot problem that Barcelona is facing due to the uncertain growth of tourism in the area, placing high pressure on locals with adverse shifts in both local industries and the colonisation of public area (Kukkamäki, 2020). This has further added to the strong feeling of touristification by locals and the lack of integrity of the area. Also, illicit practises generated by overcapacity, such as pornography, have drawn the attention of the authorities. Barcelona's Old Downtown district has become famous with stag parties, narcotics, and prostitutes, which steadily damage the city's reputation and the locality (Gomez et al., 2018). Ultimately, the threat of failure of cultural identity amongst locals and increased regional nationalist friction contributed to anti-social activity that was accompanied by a lot of demonstrations. To address this problem, the Government has introduced new rules aimed at limiting the amount of short-term commercial leases, which will essentially prohibit visitors from using them (Kukkamäki, 2020).
From the above assessment, it can be concluded that by the two models examination Barcelona was preferred to highlight the tremendous impacts of lodging overpopulation, lack of resident autonomy, and pollution, which gradually contributed to various "anti-tourism" demonstrations and campaigns by locals. Throughout the study, Barcelona challenges were discussed on the basis of their implications stemming from over-tourism to the solutions suggested by all related stakeholders. Hence, by following the governmental policies and measures like eco-friendly fuels the problems can be mitigated after the pandemic for the effective tourist experience.