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Demarketing Strategy As a Tool to Mitigate Overtourism – An Illusion?

Overtourism as Destination Risk

ISBN: 978-1-83909-707-2, eISBN: 978-1-83909-706-5

Publication date: 13 May 2021


The growing tensions related to overtourism and its influences, such as environmental harm to nature and residents' well-being, loss of authenticity and visitors' satisfaction, have triggered a rethinking of destination marketing strategies. Many destinations consider stricter measures to cope with this situation. Among others, demarketing initiatives, which aim at discouraging demand, are discussed as an alternative strategic orientation. Demarketing is not a new concept, but in complex tourism destinations with many attractions, stakeholders and tourists, its potential remains mostly unexplored. This chapter presents findings from two tourism destinations: one on a national scale, New Zealand, and one on a regional scale, the Lofoten Islands, Norway. Our results show that destination demarketing mix strategies are emphasised by both destinations. In an overtourism situation, it is surprising that general demarketing has limited relevance. Instead, we find evidence for a mix of mainly selective demarketing, but also synchromarketing initiatives (redistributing demand spatially and temporally) and counter-marketing efforts (tourists' code of conduct). Decisions related to the implementation of a demarketing mix depend not only on destination management in general, but also on long-term, sustainability-oriented and dynamic processes where stakeholders negotiate how they can adjust visitor demands. We refer to such strategic work as ‘Stakeholder Integrated Demarketing Approach’ (SIDA). The chapter provides an original contribution to tourism academia and practices while opening avenues for future research, particularly with reference to a demarketing mix strategy and the feasibility of SIDA in times when demarketing could develop as a tool to mitigate overtourism.



Lindberg, F. and Seeler, S. (2021), "Demarketing Strategy As a Tool to Mitigate Overtourism – An Illusion?", Sharma, A. and Hassan, A. (Ed.) Overtourism as Destination Risk (Tourism Security-Safety and Post Conflict Destinations), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 129-149.



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