Overtourism: A Recent Book Explores the Causes and Consequences of Extreme Travel

Venice, Italy, April 26, 2008 | © Courtesy of Bobby Hidy/Flickr.
Venice, Italy, April 26, 2008 | © Courtesy of Bobby Hidy/Flickr.

Once a niche term within the travel industry, “overtourism” is an increasingly important global-scale issue that has gained worldwide media attention.

A Blog Article by Eric Merkel-Sobotta.


Although the phenomenon is not necessarily new, the effects of unsustainable and rapidly growing tourism have led to increased concern about its negative effects on local communities and places of natural beauty.

De Gruyter’s “Overtourism: Issues, realities and solutions,” a volume of contributions edited by Rachel Dodds and Richard W. Butler published in May 2019, is the first book to examine in detail the origin and enabling causes of overtourism. This work places the much discussed and contentious topic of extreme tourism in its conceptual and empirical context, including wider policy and planning discussions.

As a selection of global case studies in both urban and rural settings, the book discusses potential steps to reduce the impact of overtourism on residents and the natural environment of affected areas.

The chapter by Harold Goodwin examines Barcelona, once viewed as one of the cooler destinations in Europe. As media reports show, the Catalan capital is currently struggling to bear the weight of its popularity. In this chapter entitled “Barcelona – Crowding out the locals: A Model for Tourism Management?”, its author focuses on the rise and development of Barcelona’s extreme tourism, while shining a light at its ambitious programme for addressing overtourism.

In another chapter on “The Role of Social Media in Creating and Addressing Overtourism,” Ulrike Gretzel examines the significant impact of social media such as Instagram on the tourist boom as well as on visitor behaviour. While it is apparent that social media has contributed to the problem, Gretzel also discuses the potentially positive effect that information sharing can have on promoting sustainable tourist behaviours, as social media are also likely to heighten the awareness of overtourism and facilitate communication among diverse stakeholders.

The discussions of the many aspects of overtourism as a global issue in this edited volume underline the importance of developing tourism in line with the needs of the local residents.

Written by by Eric Merkel-Sobotta

Edited by Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Venice, Italy, April 26, 2008 | © Courtesy of Bobby Hidy/Flickr.

This post is based on a press release that originally appeared in degruyter.com, 6/5/2019, https://www.degruyter.com/dg/newsitem/334/overtourism-the-causes-and-consequences-of-unbridled-travel-.


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