Book presentation: 'The Overtourism Debate'

Is this the moment to rethink tourism for when international travel starts to recover?

It is hard to imagine that just one year ago, managing and spreading tourist streams was one of the major issues of concern in cities such as Barcelona, Lisbon and Amsterdam. ‘Overtourism’ was the term for what was considered to be a sustainability problem, especially in urban tourism. Congestion did not only cause nuisance among residents, but drove up prices and led to the displacement of city residents. The entire problem seems to have vanished overnight. Should we now feel relieved, regret our criticism of tourist pressure, or is this the moment to rethink the management of tourism for when international travel starts to recover?

The Overtourism Debate: different expert opinions and theories

This month an international selection of studies on this issue will be published with the title The Overtourism Debate: NIMBY, Nuisance, Commodification. The book tries to answer questions such as: why has urban tourism grown exponentially? What causes the anger of so many residents? Why have so many measures had so limited effects? If we could reduce the growth of tourism, would that not affect precisely those groups that only recently have started to travel? One of the main conclusions of the book is, that measures taken in individual cities will not be effective as long as growing demand is not under control.

What can these opinions by urban planners, hospitality and tourism experts contribute? As Jeroen Oskam states: “If this crisis clarifies one thing, it is that, whether it is in the search for vaccines and therapeutics, the restart of international travel, the planning of our cities or the rethinking of tourism, science may be better at providing answers than market dynamics.”

The book has been edited by Jeroen Oskam, Director Research Centre at Hotelschool The Hague, a research group that studies the future of hospitality and tourism with the mission to contribute to the social and economic sustainability and the circulartity of hospitality and tourism. Recently, Oskam has published a book on Airbnb and the future of the ‘sharing economy’, that was included on the list of ‘Best Susainability Books to Read in 2020’. The Overtourism Debate will be published by Emerald Publishers.

Jeroen A. Oskam (ed.), The Overtourism Debate: NIMBY, Nuisance, Commodification. 328 pagina’s. Bingley (UK): Emerald Publishing Limited. ISBN: 9781838674885. Available via: Emerald Bookstore