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Conflicting discursive representations of overtourism in Lisbon in the Portuguese digital press

Filipa Perdigão Ribeiro (University of the Algarve, Faro, Portugal and CiTUR Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
Kate Torkington (University of the Algarve, Faro, Portugal and CiTUR Algarve, Faro, Portugal)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 23 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the ways in which Portuguese online news reports and opinion studies have framed the discussion about overtourism in Lisbon and its impacts on the city and its inhabitants.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on critical discourse analysis applied to media texts, this paper discusses the discursive representations of overtourism by focusing on how an emerging new discourse which constructs tourism as problematic began to challenge the established discourse – in which tourism is perceived as beneficial.

Findings

As a consequence, and to maintain the status quo, many media texts deploy strong legitimating strategies focusing on the benefits of tourism growth. These are juxtaposed with de-legitimating strategies which serve to deny problems of overtourism. Findings highlight the role the media play in shaping tourism discursively and uncover the complexities of discourses on the effects of (over)tourism and the ways in which they are constructed, disseminated and discussed.

Social implications

This research is particularly relevant when newspaper opinion articles from 2021 voice the Portuguese Government’s concern in bringing back to Portugal the pre-pandemic tourist numbers as soon as possible.

Originality/value

This study attempts to reveal the conflicting interests and imbalances of power among different tourism stakeholders by taking a qualitative, critical approach to the analysis of media discourse as a social practice within the broader socio-political context. This study argues that from an analytical-methodological perspective, media discourse is an optimum research site to critically explore how conflicting interests are positioned in the mass media and how this shapes public opinion.

Keywords

Citation

Ribeiro, F.P. and Torkington, K. (2022), "Conflicting discursive representations of overtourism in Lisbon in the Portuguese digital press", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJTC-05-2022-0108

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, International Tourism Studies Association

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