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UNWTO Releases Report to Help Cities Manage Impact of Tourism

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Tuesday released a new report to help manage growing urban tourism flows and their impact on cities and residents.

Titled ‘Overtourism’? Understanding and Managing Urban Tourism Growth beyond Perceptions, the report was announced during the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, in Seoul, Korea.

“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,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

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.

“We must also ensure local communities see and benefit from the positive aspects of tourism”, he added.

According to the UNWTO, 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. Increased reports of negative attitudes among local populations towards visitors, due to perceived overcrowding, noise and other issues, have led to the spread of terms such as ‘overtourism’ and ‘tourismphobia’ in the media.

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.

The report is the result of collaboration between the 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.

The 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism in Seoul will come to an end on Wednesday.

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