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Destinations versus living environments:
the clash over concurrent claims among
different interest groups in cities
Destinos versus entornos de vida:
el choque sobre reclamos concurrentes entre
diferentes grupos de interés en las ciudades
Andreas Kagermeier, Trier University – Leisure & Tourism Geography, andreas@kagermeier.de
Eva Erdmenger, Trier University – Leisure & ourism Geography, erdmenger@uni‐trier.de
OVERTOURISM-Discourse
ARTE: Tourist Go Home (2017)
DUBROVNIK VENICE BARCELONA
UNWTO Management Strategies
 LIMITATION
… only ultima ratio, if carrying capacity is exceeded
 Spatial dispersal of visitors 
 Time‐Based dispersal
… really feasible ???
Starting point: 
Accept as a given fact the tourist as they are as of today.
Focus on destinations where the physical carrying capacity is 
not yet exceeded and no active rebellion against tourism
Two different – and somewhat antagonistic –
perspectives from which a spatial context is seen
 Visitors’ (and DMO) perspective: 
conceptualises this space as “a destination”;
use of an urban environment follows an economic perspective 
that. A destination is marketed as an economic product with 
the intention of creating revenue and jobs. 
 Residents perspective: 
view their “habitat” from a sociocultural angle; spatial entity is 
seen as their living environment. 
 Aim of contribution: 
• reflect on the two different rationales surrounding 
“destinations” and “living environments”
• analyse the options of reconciling those two partially 
antagonistic approaches 
Visitor behaviour as a starting point for
management approaches
UNWTO claims (2018: 49): Communicating and engaging 
visitors is a way to sensitise them to the negative impact their 
behaviour has on the local population
• Limited reach of this approach undertaken since decades in 
tourism to the Global South 
• Limited reach of soft persuasive measures in urban tourism
Photo: Stors , Kagermeier, Tagesspiegel 2015, DW 2015
In search of the social carrying capacity
• Visitor structure as an influencing factor
• Visitor growth rate as an influencing factor
• Perceptions of the housing market and privacy 
as influencing factors
www.wikimedia.com
Challenges to reconciling the interests of
residents with those of visitors
• Over the last few decades, the focus of DMOs and tourism 
policy has been primarily oriented to the needs and interests of 
potential visitors. 
• The overtourism discussion might signify the need for a 
paradigmatic change in approaches to tourism policy. 
• Residents’ needs must be given the same attention as visitors’ 
interests have been given in recent decades. 
• Changing the behaviour and the travel pattern of tourists does 
not seem to be a feasible approach
• Other ways of reconciling the – often divergent – interests of 
visitors and residents have to be found.
Challenges to reconciling the interests of
residents with those of visitors
• Of course, in cases like Venice or Dubrovnik where the sheer number of 
visitors exceeds the physical carrying capacity, or in cases like Barcelona 
and Amsterdam where heated protests have already been taking place, a 
strategy to limit and reduce the number of tourists is necessary. 
• But the focus has to be put on cities that have been exposed to a certain 
amount of pressure, but where neither the physical nor the social carrying 
capacity has yet been exceeded.
• Since tourism is an important economic factor in many cities and regions, 
simply capping and reducing tourism demand is probably not feasible. 
• That means the crucial question is how to reconcile diverging interests and 
thus reach an economically and socially sustainable level of tourism
Challenges to reconciling the interests of
residents with those of visitors
Keeping a finger on the pulse of residents
• But the DMO could not count on the residents to willingly participate in formal settings 
of public participation as long as they find the situation still bearable. 
• Necessity to identify other methods of assessing residents’ state of mind concerning 
tourism’s impacts in their city. 
• First, it is necessary to conduct systematic quantitative surveys among the local 
population about their perceptions of tourists and possible points of contention arising 
from tourism. Such surveys might serve as an initial early‐warning tool that would help 
local policymakers to identify possible future conflicts. 
• Participation from representatives of DMOs or city councils at meetings of local NGOs, 
civic associations and interest groups might be one way to keep a finger on the pulse of 
these organisations’ discourses and thus identify the first grumbles of displeasure at 
an early stage. 
Challenges to reconciling the interests of
residents with those of visitors
Trying to foster a holistic community discourse 
• But again, it is not simple to address the local population with the intention of 
fostering positive opinions about tourism in a city
• If a DMO attempts to proactively communicate with the local population in an effort 
to increase residents’ acceptance of the challenge of intensive tourism frequency, it 
will have to find more subtle themes for communication. 
• However, this would entail a comprehensive, paradigmatic change in the roles that 
local and regional DMOs have played up to this point.
• Moreover, there are no simple ways to take into account the needs of residents. 
• Systematic monitoring of residents’ attitudes, a willingness to take their concerns 
seriously, the development of intelligent ways of interaction and communication with 
residents, and most of all the acceptance that economic perspectives are 
subordinate to residents’ self‐definition of their well‐being are all huge challenges for 
destination governance stakeholders and tourism research
Thank you for your attention
... and I look forward to
a lively discussion

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Destinations vs living environment: the ambivalence of concurrent/competing claims among different interest groups in cities

  • 1. Destinations versus living environments: the clash over concurrent claims among different interest groups in cities Destinos versus entornos de vida: el choque sobre reclamos concurrentes entre diferentes grupos de interés en las ciudades Andreas Kagermeier, Trier University – Leisure & Tourism Geography, andreas@kagermeier.de Eva Erdmenger, Trier University – Leisure & ourism Geography, erdmenger@uni‐trier.de OVERTOURISM-Discourse ARTE: Tourist Go Home (2017) DUBROVNIK VENICE BARCELONA
  • 2. UNWTO Management Strategies  LIMITATION … only ultima ratio, if carrying capacity is exceeded  Spatial dispersal of visitors   Time‐Based dispersal … really feasible ??? Starting point:  Accept as a given fact the tourist as they are as of today. Focus on destinations where the physical carrying capacity is  not yet exceeded and no active rebellion against tourism Two different – and somewhat antagonistic – perspectives from which a spatial context is seen  Visitors’ (and DMO) perspective:  conceptualises this space as “a destination”; use of an urban environment follows an economic perspective  that. A destination is marketed as an economic product with  the intention of creating revenue and jobs.   Residents perspective:  view their “habitat” from a sociocultural angle; spatial entity is  seen as their living environment.   Aim of contribution:  • reflect on the two different rationales surrounding  “destinations” and “living environments” • analyse the options of reconciling those two partially  antagonistic approaches 
  • 3. Visitor behaviour as a starting point for management approaches UNWTO claims (2018: 49): Communicating and engaging  visitors is a way to sensitise them to the negative impact their  behaviour has on the local population • Limited reach of this approach undertaken since decades in  tourism to the Global South  • Limited reach of soft persuasive measures in urban tourism Photo: Stors , Kagermeier, Tagesspiegel 2015, DW 2015 In search of the social carrying capacity • Visitor structure as an influencing factor • Visitor growth rate as an influencing factor • Perceptions of the housing market and privacy  as influencing factors www.wikimedia.com
  • 4. Challenges to reconciling the interests of residents with those of visitors • Over the last few decades, the focus of DMOs and tourism  policy has been primarily oriented to the needs and interests of  potential visitors.  • The overtourism discussion might signify the need for a  paradigmatic change in approaches to tourism policy.  • Residents’ needs must be given the same attention as visitors’  interests have been given in recent decades.  • Changing the behaviour and the travel pattern of tourists does  not seem to be a feasible approach • Other ways of reconciling the – often divergent – interests of  visitors and residents have to be found. Challenges to reconciling the interests of residents with those of visitors • Of course, in cases like Venice or Dubrovnik where the sheer number of  visitors exceeds the physical carrying capacity, or in cases like Barcelona  and Amsterdam where heated protests have already been taking place, a  strategy to limit and reduce the number of tourists is necessary.  • But the focus has to be put on cities that have been exposed to a certain  amount of pressure, but where neither the physical nor the social carrying  capacity has yet been exceeded. • Since tourism is an important economic factor in many cities and regions,  simply capping and reducing tourism demand is probably not feasible.  • That means the crucial question is how to reconcile diverging interests and  thus reach an economically and socially sustainable level of tourism
  • 5. Challenges to reconciling the interests of residents with those of visitors Keeping a finger on the pulse of residents • But the DMO could not count on the residents to willingly participate in formal settings  of public participation as long as they find the situation still bearable.  • Necessity to identify other methods of assessing residents’ state of mind concerning  tourism’s impacts in their city.  • First, it is necessary to conduct systematic quantitative surveys among the local  population about their perceptions of tourists and possible points of contention arising  from tourism. Such surveys might serve as an initial early‐warning tool that would help  local policymakers to identify possible future conflicts.  • Participation from representatives of DMOs or city councils at meetings of local NGOs,  civic associations and interest groups might be one way to keep a finger on the pulse of  these organisations’ discourses and thus identify the first grumbles of displeasure at  an early stage.  Challenges to reconciling the interests of residents with those of visitors Trying to foster a holistic community discourse  • But again, it is not simple to address the local population with the intention of  fostering positive opinions about tourism in a city • If a DMO attempts to proactively communicate with the local population in an effort  to increase residents’ acceptance of the challenge of intensive tourism frequency, it  will have to find more subtle themes for communication.  • However, this would entail a comprehensive, paradigmatic change in the roles that  local and regional DMOs have played up to this point. • Moreover, there are no simple ways to take into account the needs of residents.  • Systematic monitoring of residents’ attitudes, a willingness to take their concerns  seriously, the development of intelligent ways of interaction and communication with  residents, and most of all the acceptance that economic perspectives are  subordinate to residents’ self‐definition of their well‐being are all huge challenges for  destination governance stakeholders and tourism research
  • 6. Thank you for your attention ... and I look forward to a lively discussion