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Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Tourism, Culture, and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2019) | Viewed by 53591

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Town and Country Planning, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: urban geography; economic development; cultural studies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
University Institute for Studies and Development of Galicia. University of Santiago de Compostela, Avda. das Ciencias, Chalet Nº1, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Interests: Tourism Geography; Cultural Tourism; Sustainability Measurement; Tourist Historic Cities

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: human geography; tourism geography; heritage and heritage management; geography of pilgrimages and geography of sacred spaces; geo-humanities
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Historic cities are twofold: from the cultural point of view, they have a secular legacy that expresses the basis of the community’s identity; from the economic perspective, they are linked to the consideration of heritage and culture as drivers of development (Castro Fernández, Lois González, Lopez, 2015). In this sense, historic cities are major tourist attractions that lead to an influx of visitors that threatens their sustainability (Barrera et al., 2014; Massiani & Santoro, 2012; Thimothy, 2011). Ashworth and Tunbridge (1990) developed the concept of Tourist-Historic Cities (THCs) as areas in which urban structure, architecture, and artefacts are used to create a heritage asset that is based on place. In fact, historic cities are also “convergent spaces”: they lead to coinciding social behaviors, as various activities take place within their “borders”.

Tourist activity is continually increasing in tourist-historic cities. It contributes to local and regional economic development but also creates significant social and environmental problems that are heightened by the increase in the population living in these spaces. Sustainable practices are key factors in reaching balanced economic, social and environmental development. The concept of sustainable tourism management means regulating and controlling the rate of growth within a destination (Canovan, 2013; Goodwin, 2017; Gössling & Hall, 2005; Saarinen, 2014). However, putting sustainability into practice is a complex process, due to the lack of practical tools for measuring the impacts of tourism in all their dimensions. In fact, UNWTO has been working on creating a draft framework for measuring tourism’s impact on sustainability through the initiative “Measuring Sustainable Tourism” (MST). As new sources of data for the analysis of tourism have emerged, this initiative calls for a framework that is based not on the use of traditional data sources but one capable of using and integrating all possible sources to provide the richest picture possible (UNWTO, 2017). In this context, Tourist Information Systems or Tourist Observatories must be encouraged as tools for unifying all data sources and establishing a systematic way to monitor tourism indicators that can guide decision-making processes and promote smart cities (Agyeiwaah et al., 2017; Fernández-Tabales, 2017).

Challenging and innovative management measures leading to favourable dynamics are required to pave the way for a discourse of socially-sustainable tourism practices (Joppe, 2018; Saarinen, 2006). Therefore, all public and private territorial actors involved in tourism must work together to integrate cultural, tourism and urban policies (Landorf, 2009; Lussetyowati, 2015; Pérez Guilarte and Lois González, 2018). In addition, the participation of local residents in decision-making processes is one of the most widely discussed parameters in debates on the preservation and sustainability of tourism management (Jones and Evans, 2012; Lussetyowati, 2015; Nyseth and Sognnaes, 2013). Nevertheless, because the public has not been involved in developing tourism strategies, public administrations are dealing with social conflicts and movements that protest the ‘touristification’ of public spaces, the increased cost of rented housing, the loss of traditional commerce, and other problems. It urges a collective, consensual choice based on the principles of commons creation and governance, care and conviviality (Saarinen, 2014). Taking into account the above-mentioned scenario, the purpose of this special issue is to provide a forum in which to discuss and identify new trends and developments in planning and managing sustainability and visitor flows in historic cities. We welcome the submission of original papers that include conceptual, empirical, analytical or design-oriented approaches to the following topics:

  1. Monitoring carrying capacity and mechanisms for managing tourist flows to tourist attractions and historic cities as a whole.
  2. New sources of information (Big Data or others) for producing statistics on visitor profiles, demands and behaviour as tools for managing visitor flows.
  3. Systems and tools for measuring the social, economic and environmental sustainability of tourism.
  4. Models of collaboration between public and private institutions to plan and manage sustainable tourism.
  5. The integration of tourism, urban development and cultural heritage policies.
  6. Initiatives from the business sector to promote competitiveness through the implementation of sustainable practices.
  7. Policies for promoting public participation in the planning and development of tourism.
  8. The impacts of tourism on the residential use of historic cities and public actions to mitigate them.
  9. Social conflicts and movements against tourism activity: causes and management.

The proposals should address these topics from a variety of perspectives, including basic research, integrated assessment approaches and policy evaluations. They may draw from specialized fields within geography, economics, history and the social and political sciences.

This special issue therefore welcomes proposals that advance integrated and multidisciplinary approaches as a strategy for improving the results of research, as well as innovative spatial and temporal connections that challenge future perspectives.

Prof. Dr. Rubén Camilo Lois González
Dr. Yamilé Pérez Guilarte
Dr. Lucrezia Lopez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Carrying capacity
  • Management of visitor flows
  • Sustainability measurement
  • Tourist Intelligence Systems
  • Tourism planning and management
  • Cultural heritage management
  • Public-private synergies
  • Governance models
  • Social conflicts

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 4020 KiB  
Article
“The Overwhelmed City”: Physical and Social Over-Capacities of Global Tourism in Venice
by Dario Bertocchi and Francesco Visentin
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246937 - 5 Dec 2019
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 21412
Abstract
Venice is one of the most famous iconic destinations and one of the most emblematic cases of overtourism affecting a historic city. Here, social movements against tourism have emerged as a reaction to vastly unsustainable tourist flows that have had dramatic and transformational [...] Read more.
Venice is one of the most famous iconic destinations and one of the most emblematic cases of overtourism affecting a historic city. Here, social movements against tourism have emerged as a reaction to vastly unsustainable tourist flows that have had dramatic and transformational impacts on Venetians’ lives. The aim of this paper is to investigate how tourism transforms the social, cultural, and everyday geographies of the city. The effects of tourism on the historic city are conceived as a process of continuous transformation and repositioning. Taking into consideration the most tangible daily practices of tourists (eating, sleeping, and buying) and the finer dynamics of Venice’s tourism problem, we translate data on these practices into a temporal and spatial analysis to better understand how dynamic the texture of the city is in relation to the tourism subsystem. A comparison between 2008 and 2019 is conducted to evaluate the impact of tourism on residential uses of the city and measure the sustainability of growth of the tourism facilities. The investigation highlighted an impressive accommodation’s growth, from 8.249 in 2008 to 49.260 in 2019 of bed places (497% growth) in the entire historical city, a similar expansion is also evident in the total number of restaurants that has increased by 160% in all districts and a variations of 4% in shops instead of a population decline of −13% in the same period. In addition, a residents’ survey in spring 2019 was conducted to better understand the intensity of these impacts and the motives for depopulation and the anti-tourism movements. We focus on how tourism, if not managed and planned, radically changes the social and urban structures of the city and the lives of local residents. We conclude by presenting some local theoretical and practical insights into the touristic pressure, provided by citizens’ associations on one side and policymakers on the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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21 pages, 5376 KiB  
Article
Culture and Tourism in Porto City Centre: Conflicts and (Im)Possible Solutions
by Inês Gusman, Pedro Chamusca, José Fernandes and Jorge Pinto
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5701; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205701 - 15 Oct 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 7911
Abstract
City centres are spaces where different economic and cultural values converge as a consequence of their current uses and functions. In the case of Porto (Portugal), more than 20 years after being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (in 1996), tourism has [...] Read more.
City centres are spaces where different economic and cultural values converge as a consequence of their current uses and functions. In the case of Porto (Portugal), more than 20 years after being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (in 1996), tourism has had remarkable effects on its physical, social and economic features. Therefore, Porto—and in particular its city centre—is taken in this article as the object of study. The interest of this space lies in the fact that it has been rapidly transformed from a devalued old area into the centre of an important urban tourism destination on a European level. Based on the spatial and temporal analysis of a set of indicators related to tourism, housing and economic activity, we identify the main threats that this “culture-led regeneration”—much supported by tourism—could have on the cultural values of Porto. Our results show that this process is promoting an excessive use of space by tourism and an overexploitation of cultural values. We conclude with some policy recommendations to support strategies capable of keeping cultural values alive, which we consider sustainable compromises between heritage and modernization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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26 pages, 1863 KiB  
Article
The Study of Tourist Movements in Tourist Historic Cities: A Comparative Analysis of the Applicability of Four Different Tools
by Ana Muñoz-Mazón, Laura Fuentes-Moraleda, Angela Chantre-Astaiza and Marlon-Felipe Burbano-Fernandez
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5265; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195265 - 25 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3415
Abstract
This paper presents the results of the application of four different tools (tourist card, questionarie, GPS and NFC) with the objective to study the movement of tourists in a tourist historic city (Popayán, Colombia). Given the need for these types of cities to [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of the application of four different tools (tourist card, questionarie, GPS and NFC) with the objective to study the movement of tourists in a tourist historic city (Popayán, Colombia). Given the need for these types of cities to manage tourism in a sustainable way, and considering that the management of tourist flows is a key aspect to achieve this, the aim was to find out which of the tools applied provides more precise data on the movement of tourists in the destination. For this, information was collected on the movement of tourists with four different tools, applying each tool in four different years (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015) during the same time period (Holy Week). For the analysis of tourist movements, the Markov chain was obtained for each period. In order to study the generation of routes geo-location was used in each case. The results show that even though GPS technology provided more information on the visited places, NFC technology facilitates more extensive information. In addition, NFC technology allowed the extraction of important information about the places visited, showing a wide number of sites visited and, therefore, providing greater value for the study. Finally, the results of the study provide a better understanding of how destination management organizations could develop more suitable alternatives of the customer services systems, the delivery of tourist information and the identification of sites with heavy use. Conclusively, this study helps to identify how to take better advantage of the marketing strategies through different tools that analyses tourism movements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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24 pages, 3325 KiB  
Article
Social Vulnerability and Touristification of Historic Centers
by Carmen Mínguez, María José Piñeira and Alfonso Fernández-Tabales
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4478; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164478 - 19 Aug 2019
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 6104
Abstract
Historic centers have suffered different processes of neglect, occupation, segregation, gentrification, and touristification as a result of changes in demand and policies. Currently, they are going through a homogenization process motivated by tourist pressure, which is causing the expulsion of the local population; [...] Read more.
Historic centers have suffered different processes of neglect, occupation, segregation, gentrification, and touristification as a result of changes in demand and policies. Currently, they are going through a homogenization process motivated by tourist pressure, which is causing the expulsion of the local population; this is a common topic of interest for media and political agendas, which requires scientific analysis. This research aims at identifying the winning and the losing tourist groups in the historic center of Seville. It is structured in two parts: a conceptual one based on the bibliographic review with which one wants to know how the current society responds to tourist pressure through defining and characterizing the processes of substitution of uses and inhabitants, and another empirical one in which the analysis of statistical indicators (demographic, economic, and residential) treated with Geographic Information System (GIS) allows us to measure the degree of existing vulnerability and analyze social and spatial effects caused by the tourism in Seville. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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12 pages, 1138 KiB  
Article
Glocal Tourism and Resilient Cities: The Case of Matera “European Capital of Culture 2019”
by Antonietta Ivona, Antonella Rinella and Francesca Rinella
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154118 - 30 Jul 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3664
Abstract
This research paper presents the key elements of the strategic project “European Capital of Culture 2019” initiated by the city of Matera in 2014. Through the “big event”, defined by the combination “diluted time/diffuse space”, the “Città dei Sassi”, UNESCO World Heritage since [...] Read more.
This research paper presents the key elements of the strategic project “European Capital of Culture 2019” initiated by the city of Matera in 2014. Through the “big event”, defined by the combination “diluted time/diffuse space”, the “Città dei Sassi”, UNESCO World Heritage since 1993, is innovating the symbolic, material, and organizational levels of all the Basilicata municipalities whose tourist resources were almost unknown both at national and international levels, thus showing high resiliency, i.e., flexibility, inclusiveness, integration, and initiative. Through a self-centered and sustainable model of tourist accommodation that minimizes the infrastructure fixed capital investment aiming, at the same time, to increase collective empowerment processes, it is planned to accommodate about 700,000 “temporary citizens” who, by adopting an active and participative approach, wish to live a unique and unrepeatable identity experience in the Lucanian community instead of being mere spectators. Special attention is paid to “virtual” communication by using the world wide web not only as a showcase to promote the bottom-up identification and enhancement process of the heritage, but also as a tool to manage contacts with potential visitors in order to avoid any adverse impact of the event on the environmental and cultural components of the city and of the regional planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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24 pages, 612 KiB  
Article
Residents’ Opinions and Perceptions of Tourism Development in the Historic City of Toledo, Spain
by Luis Alfonso Escudero Gómez
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3854; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143854 - 15 Jul 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4367
Abstract
Historic centers have become first-line tourist destinations. In order to achieve sustainable development, it is essential to get to know the opinions of the host community on the impact of tourism, the positives, as well as the negatives. This paper aims to understand [...] Read more.
Historic centers have become first-line tourist destinations. In order to achieve sustainable development, it is essential to get to know the opinions of the host community on the impact of tourism, the positives, as well as the negatives. This paper aims to understand the residents’ opinions and perceptions of destinations as the historic cities. This research looks into the residents’ opinions on the impact of tourism in the historic city of Toledo, Spain. The results of a quantitative survey among 442 residents in the city of Toledo are presented. The study is a revision of the literature and analysis and explanation of an empiric study’s results. Descriptive statistics have been used, as well as factor analysis and non-parametric tests to analyze data. The main results point out that residents have a positive vision of tourism development, rather than negative. The economic importance of tourism and its ability to create jobs stand out. However, they also think that the historic center is being turned into a museum for tourists. Analyzing their opinions according to certain demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, some major differences come up, such as that the inhabitants of residential areas have a more positive opinion than those who live in the historic center. Understanding the perspective of the residents can help the managers and planners of the tourism in the city to play down the potential negative impact of tourism and to achieve support from the host community in regards to tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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Review

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19 pages, 2696 KiB  
Review
Using Big Data to Measure Tourist Sustainability: Myth or Reality?
by Yamilé Pérez Guilarte and Daniel Barreiro Quintáns
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5641; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205641 - 13 Oct 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 5389
Abstract
The concern about the production of international standards to measure the sustainability of tourism is present today, especially the discourse on the introduction of new sources. This article aims to survey and describe the main approaches and methodologies to use big data to [...] Read more.
The concern about the production of international standards to measure the sustainability of tourism is present today, especially the discourse on the introduction of new sources. This article aims to survey and describe the main approaches and methodologies to use big data to measure tourism sustainability. Successful cases are addressed by explaining the main opportunities and challenges for the creation of official tourist statistics. A comprehensive review of publications regarding this field was carried out by applying the systematic literature review technique. This contributes a knowledge base to destination management organisations to encourage the implementation of official tourism statistics systems using big data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
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