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Global Survey Finds Residents Still Positive About Urban Tourism

Improving infrastructure, implementing restrictions and creating experiences and attractions that benefit both residents and visitors are among the ways to keep tourism in check while at the same time ensuring city-dwellers at popular destinations remain positively-inclined to traveler flows to their cities, found a global survey released recently by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and IPSOS.

Overall, the online survey conducted in 15 countries, found that local residents have a positive perception towards urban tourism.

At a glance 47 percent of those polled said they believed they reside in cities with a high number of tourists.

More than half (52 percent) said they think tourism has a big or moderate impact in generating wealth and income, while 46 percent think it creates overcrowding.

Nearly half (49 percent) feel that there should be measures to better manage tourism, which include improving infrastructure and facilities (at 72 percent) and introducing experiences and attractions that benefit both residents and visitors (71 percent).

Only 12 percent think that there should be limitations to the number of visitors but this varies according to respondents’ socio-demographic profiles: younger respondents (under 34 years of age) are more in favour of implementing restrictive measures to manage tourism, against older study participants (above 50 years of age) who do not appear to perceive the negative impacts  of tourism as much and who are less favourable towards implementing restrictive measures.

At the same time, the higher educated demonstrate more awareness of the positive and negative impacts of tourism.

A key finding indicates that people who travel often (twice or more in the last year) are less likely to feel that they live in cities with a high number of tourists, when compared to those who do not travel regularly.

The UNWTO / IPSOS survey, which aims to offer insight into residents’ attitudes towards urban tourism, as well as identify management strategies to address emerging challenges of increased tourism demand, concluded that age, education level and travel frequency are factors that contribute to awareness levels of the impacts of tourism and respondents’ preferences in relation to the implementation of measures to better manage tourism.

“In order to make sure that urban tourism continues to benefit local residents, it is fundamental to implement sustainable policies and practices. This includes the regular monitoring of residents’ attitudes towards tourism and factoring them in the tourism agenda,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

The survey was conducted between December 2018 and January 2019 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK and US.

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