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Cities and tourism, a love and hate story; towards a conceptual framework for urban overtourism management

Frederic Bouchon (Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France)
Marion Rauscher (Department of Tourism, University of Applied Sciences Munich, Munich, Germany)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 8 October 2019

Issue publication date: 3 December 2019




Overtourism is a term that has emerged in media over the past few years. Issues of carrying capacity that were limited to tourism sites have recently spread to places with no tourism background. The development of new technologies and network hospitality (NH) has enabled a blurring of roles. Residents and tourists are more than often using the same infrastructure and spaces creating tensions. This reinforces issues related to ownership and citizenship within a new context. However, there is only a limited number of studies linked to urban overtourism, and a categorisation of cities is necessary to apprehend the phenomenon. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the current narratives of overtourism in cities and their impact on selected stakeholders.


This conceptual paper uses a qualitative approach to investigate the case of several cities bearing signs of overtourism. It uses data from public and private sources (statistics, press, city marketing, etc.) from six cities of various size in Europe in which the media reported overtourism syndrome. The data were analysed through a thematic analysis, enabling a categorisation and a typology of urban overtourism.


Findings show that overtourism is a notion constructed from various aspects, including recently added supply sources such as NH and low-cost carriers. The urban morphology and branding strategy play a major role in the sentiment of overtourism.

Research limitations/implications

The study indicates the need for further research considering the urban destination in a holistic manner, rather than approaching it at the tourist site scale. A further quantitative research could test the model of urban overtourism taxonomy.


The developed urban overtourism typology and framework of analysis. The argument of using the urban morphology understanding and technology to address urban destination overtourism.



Bouchon, F. and Rauscher, M. (2019), "Cities and tourism, a love and hate story; towards a conceptual framework for urban overtourism management", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 598-619.



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Copyright © 2019, International Tourism Studies Association

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