Coca-Stefaniak, A., Morrison, A.M., Edwards, D., Graburn, N., Liu, C., Pearce, P., Ooi, C.S., Pearce, D.G., Stepchenkova, S., Richards, G.W., So, A., Spirou, C., Dinnie, K., Heeley, J., Puczkó, L., Shen, H., Selby, M., Kim, H.-b. and Du, G. (2016), "Editorial", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 273-280.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, International Tourism Studies Association

Views from the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Tourism Cities

As our International Journal of Tourism Cities approaches its third “birthday”, we asked the members of IJTC’s editorial advisory board to share their views on trends likely to affect the future of urban tourism over the next ten years and the role of the International Journal of Tourism Cities in shaping this future. Their contributions, shown below, are full of fascinating insights.

Dr Andres Coca-Stefaniak


International Journal of Tourism Cities

University of Greenwich, UK

Professor Alastair M. Morrison


International Journal of Tourism Cities

Purdue University, USA

Cities have started to take a more competitive approach to the development of their urban environments, which unfortunately has seen continuing homogenisation. In some instances, such homogenisation can be positive (green roofs and buildings, restaurant gardens, improved sustainability practices). Whilst in others this homogenisation leads to sameness (the same shops in the same malls) such that tourists find it difficult to distinguish one urban environment from another. Casual dining and spaces in which to engage socially have become more prominent and offer enhanced touristic experiences. Healthy dining has grown and increasingly provides alternative options to the less healthy fast food options.

Cities that are in transition – either expanding or shrinking will need to give thought and long-term thinking to the role of tourism in the city’s economic growth and decline. During phases of growth cities can become too reliant on the service sector leading to the exploitation of tourism to the detriment of the local population (e.g. Barcelona and Venice) as cities expect tourism to replace manufacturing sectors. Phases of decline are more problematic in which deteriorated brownfield sites detract from a city’s offering. In such circumstances, can tourism be a buffer to decline – perhaps with well-considered long-term planning. The perception of safety will be important in the future and cities will have to have well-coordinated risk management plans in place to deal with unforeseen events – natural, terrorism, health, people displacement. Expansion of green spaces is required to offer balance and oases in hot brutalist urban environments.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities will help to offer a realistic perspective on the role of tourism as well as encouraging critical thought on addressing change in the role of tourism in urban destinations.

Professor Deborah Edwards

University of Technology Sydney, Australia

City tourism remains highly competitive around the world, with ever more sophisticated imaginaries, appealing to proliferating niches, especially in Asia. The medium-term future will continue these trends, but economic prosperity will dominate especially in East Asia and in overseas destinations where they visit. This will intensify the trend of catering to Chinese groups, consumption patterns and language use. However, recent events have seen security and personal freedom threatened by terrorism, civil unrest and authoritarian reactions. The violence is more generalised than the days of, e.g. the “troubles” in Northern Ireland and the UK; the problems of in the Middle East, Latin America, the Philippines, North Korea are spreading to Europe and elsewhere will continue to produce refugees and foster anxiety.

In the short to medium term, the growth of “contents tourism” starting in Japan is spreading via Korea and other Asian regions to the rest of the world. Contents Tourism broadly includes aspects of religion, mythology, folklore, popular literature especially manga and anime, TV and internet drama and creative beliefs – distributed on the internet by otaku and technically adept youth culture. This creative celebration of constantly renewed, especially privately invented cultural objects, produces neo-destinations and loyal fandoms who undertake “pilgrimages”. It is important enough to spur commercial media and local and regional governments to join the movement to direct and capture these young tourist crowds.

An even longer term trend is climate change and weather intensification, for instance Typhoon Meranti struck Xiamen, September 2016 at the greatest for since weather records began in 1913. Records heat and droughts will make places uninhabitable and storms, sea level rise and floods endanger others.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities should act as an observatory of these important continuing developments, with inspiring special editorials and comment pieces as regular features. Among others, trends to be tracked by IJTC for their impact on urban destinations and urban tourism should include violence and terrorism, creativity and innovation in popular culture and destinations and weather and climate change.

Professor Nelson Graburn

University College Berkeley, USA

Urban and city tourism have experienced rapid changes of an economic, social, technological and environmental nature often driven or at least influenced by globalisation. Equally, urban tourism has stimulated innovation in the services and activities offered by cities to offer enhanced visitor experiences.

A key issue likely to change tourism cities in the next decade is the sustainable development of city destinations, which will include the spatial distribution of tourism attractions, the promotion of accessibility and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. Tourism consolidates the international reputation of cities and contributes to their economic positioning and competitiveness. The responsibility of key stakeholders in minimising the negative impacts of tourism while maximising its contribution to the local development is essential.

The marketing of destinations using social media has grown in importance and sophistication, particularly in terms of its impact upon the behaviour of visitors. Despite a significant global growth in city tourism, urban tourism is still largely under researched as a field of interdisciplinary study and practical expertise. Therefore, intensifying the communication and cooperation between researchers and other professionals has become significant. There is a need for research to explore how city tourism practitioners can engage with tourism research to ensure that research is relevant and research findings and recommendations are implemented. The city tourism literature will benefit from the insights of more practitioners and academic collaborative studies.

The changes in tourism cities also call for new research agenda in destination marketing and management. As a new journal, the International Journal of Tourism Cities should contribute to our knowledge of the complex changes taking place in city tourism by bridging key knowledge gaps in our understanding and providing an effective link to industry practitioners too in order to influence the way that urban tourism destinations are being developed, managed and marketed.

Dr Claire Liu

Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

A few commonalities prevail as we examine the recent forces shaping city tourism. There is the rise of technology for servicing customers and influencing businesses. A visible trend across the globe is the broadening of the tourism population, most notably with more Asian and Chinese tourists. And, a change not noticed by enough researchers is the rise of more and more experienced tourists, people who have been to many destinations and at times visited the specific city before. If there is one hidden trend in the compass of changes this is the one I would highlight. It brings with it the need to satisfy people who have been to a lot of places and to offer fresh experiences for those who might be jaded with the primary items of appeal which attract the first-time visitor. It is sometimes hard for researchers to observe what is changing when their focus is on the city in their own region. The streets and attractions look pretty much the same and it is only through comparative studies that the bigger trends and their local manifestation can sometimes be predicted and detected. And yet funding for city tourism research and tourism scholarship pertaining to cities is mostly embedded in the context of a particular city. Of course each city has its image, history, structure, attractions and complexities to study. That is valuable and undeniable. For researchers, however, both in seeking to use the International Tourism Studies Association as a source of co-researchers, and for the International Journal of Tourism Cities as an outlet for joint research, it would be desirable to see comparative cross-country or cross-continental work leading us to a smarter more sustainable city tourism future. And do not forget those who have been to many cities and to your city many times before.

Professor Philip Pearce

James Cook University, Australia

Over the last two years, we have witnessed tourism benefiting from the advent of social media and the sharing economy. The global adaptation of these technologies has led to people feeling “at home” wherever they go. As urban areas are fertile grounds for such new initiatives, we see new forms of social interactions between hosts and guests. For instance, through Airbnb new commercial “friendships” are forged, and through Uber, people belong to a common ride-hailing community in more than 400 cities.

In the next ten years, one of the issues that will confront urban destinations is sustainability. Cities were known to be crowded, polluted and noisy. Much progress has been made. The trend continues and cities are becoming more human-centred and environmentally responsible. The positive images from these initiatives in cities like Melbourne, Copenhagen, Singapore and New York attract tourists, talent, investment and jobs, in addition to being pleasing for local communities. But not all residents may benefit from these changes as house prices increase, communities are displaced and heritage areas gentrified. The next challenge for the sustainable development of cities is likely to be related to the re-distribution of welfare and wealth to all segments of the population. Tourism will bring new challenges, including overcrowding of popular tourist places and also soft targets for terrorist attacks. Similarly, tourism has a responsibility to be part of the solution too, as well as a resource for local community development, instead of being reduced to simply an economic strategy to commodify local life, cultures and nature.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities has the important role in highlighting big and small issues facing the tourism city. IJTC should encourage robust and good quality research, as well as a more layered and nuanced discussion on practice-based issues in the industry.

Professor Can Seng Ooi

Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

There has been a trend, at least in New Zealand, for tourism to be increasingly incorporated into broader urban approaches to economic development. This has been accompanied in some cities by Destination Management Organisations being merged into larger regional or economic development agencies. Urban destination management will continue to be an important theme. The extent to which tourism is incorporated into broader urban policies and management and the degree to which urban tourism practitioners and researchers take account of their cities’ context will have a significant impact on tourism cities in the coming decade.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities should act as a bridge between practitioner and academic thinking on issues relating to the development and management of tourism in cities. One of the challenges in this will be getting more practitioner uptake of the research being done by academics and other researchers. This raises the issue of whether formal journal articles are the best means of knowledge transfer to practitioners. Conversely, which is the best means of conveying policy and practical issues to researchers?

Professor Douglas G. Pearce

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Cities have increased their attractiveness to tourists in recent years, often by diversifying their tourism offer. It is not uncommon to visit a city for a particular festival, an exhibition or an opera performance. At the same time, convenient accommodation bookings in the private sector through online platforms now allow tourists to stay for longer periods in cities of their choice and live there like locals for extended periods of time, especially if a city can boast distinctive architecture, developed public areas and an interesting food scene.

The drivers that underline tourism in general and tourism to cities in particular will remain the same in the short to medium term. However, new trends can be quick to develop and often just as quick to fade. Consider, for instance the recent Pokemon Go phenomenon. Cities, large and small, need to be very flexible and react quickly to accommodate the needs and wants of tourists.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities should stay current on developing trends. Ideally, the journal should not be only a platform for critical reflection on existing trends but also, where possible, anticipate them.

Professor Svetlana Stepchenkova

University of Florida, USA

Urban and city tourism has become increasingly important in recent years, particularly because of the raft of small- and medium-sized cities that are also now trying to use tourism to develop their economies and position themselves. One major change has been the shift towards co-creation with residents and tourists to develop and promote tourism experiences. Residents are now actively co-opted to promote their cities to visitors and to develop tourism services. Tourists increasingly seek out the “local” as a means of gathering authentic experiences and distinguishing themselves from others.

Technological change is likely to be the biggest driver over the next ten years, with new information systems and digital technology adding to the possibilities for consuming the city and for cities to gather and use information about their visitors.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities should become a forum for discussing the implications of the latest trends, and bringing together academic and practitioner voices to develop different perspectives. The recent meeting of the ATLAS Cities and National Capital Special Interest Group in Canterbury provided many interesting examples of new areas of debate, including the role of “hipsters” in urban development, the emergence of the digital nomad and co-working tourism and so on.

Professor Greg W. Richards

Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Millennials and Generation Z will shape the travel industry in the coming years. They will continue to have high expectations during their travel especially to urban cities. Technology will play a key role in urban and city tourism over the next ten years. WiFi will become a necessity for tourists who travel to urban cities. Social media will increasingly play a vital role in all this as people continue to share their experiences via this channel. Technology, including robotics will become increasingly more common. More companies in the tourism industry will adopt automata technology in order to save costs and attract more attention from visitors. Big Data will also play a substantial role in the development of urban and city tourism in the future. Instead of the mass marketing approaches that many convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) have adopted in the past, Big Data will help CVBs to do more personalised marketing. This will help increase visitor satisfaction and create more positive word-of-mouth marketing. The development of Big Data analysis will certainly impact the development of urban and city tourism.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities should encourage wider multi-disciplinary research in all these fields, including the impact of Big Data on urban destinations. This will help both practitioners and scholars to explore the changing landscape of urban and city tourism development.

Dr Amy So

University of Macau, China

In the last few years, we can observe the intensification of activities in two areas associated with urban and city tourism. Specifically, it is the development of a growing infrastructure and associated cultural amenities in downtown and/or specialized districts, and the expanded image building and urban branding campaigns. This trend is not only evident in larger cities, but also in smaller municipalities. Driven by economic development rationales, these investments continue in the midst of a slow, global economic recovery.

One of the key issues that cities will likely face over the next ten years will be the need to maintain the current tourist infrastructure developed during the last 20 years. At the same time, due to increased inter-urban competition, cities will also have to introduce and reshape new amenities to improve their current standing. Private-public partnerships will continue to become a preferred mode of funding projects, and an expanding relationship between business and government will become more robust. Finally, we will observe experimentation with new development models that will guide the future advancement of tourism precincts.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities can play a significant role in not only informing practitioners and the academic community about findings and new trends through the publication of case studies, but also by focussing on larger directions and emerging conceptual frameworks related to tourist-oriented urban growth. This could include spatial patterns of (re)development, community response and impact to infrastructural projects, branding initiatives of converted cities, as well as the shifting characteristics of a reconstituted political economy of tourist development.

Professor Costas Spirou

Georgia College & State University, USA

One of the most significant changes in urban and city tourism in the past two to three years has been the increasing focus on smart destinations. There is immense potential for blending virtual reality experiences with the tangible reality of a destination. It will be interesting to see which destinations excel in the coming years at integrating technology-enabled immersion in the destination within the broader scope of the overall destination brand.

A key issue that may change tourism cities over the next ten years is the possibility that city mayors might become more widely known to external audiences, and thereby play a more powerful role than previously in the image-formation process for the destination. The recent election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London, for example, sent out from that city a welcome message of diversity and openness amid a time of rising xenophobia and intolerance. Mayors may start to engage more actively with external audiences – including past and future tourists to the destination – than in the past. Destination Management Organisations will need to work out how best to capitalise on the attractive qualities of their mayors, whilst also minimising the reputational damage to the destination that can occur when such politicians become embroiled in scandals of various kinds.

As a new journal, the International Journal of Tourism Cities can play an important role in providing a platform for innovative work on the key issues that affect tourism cities now and which are likely to affect such cities in the coming years. The specific focus on cities provides an opportunity for this journal to forge a reputation as the go-to publication in the field, appealing to academics, practitioners and the myriad stakeholders with an interest in the welfare of tourism cities.

Dr Keith Dinnie

Middlesex University, UK

In one sense, urban tourism has not changed much over the past two or three years, with continuities heavily outweighing discontinuities. Urban tourism continues to grow, as it has done more or less uninterruptedly for more than three centuries. The dynamics of urban tourism development still centre on profit-led alliances of the private sector and the local state, while the main urban resort types remain broadly familiar. The central position occupied nowadays by the internet and social media – as the mediums through which demand connects with supply – is the end-product of a trend begun in the 1990s. Lately, however, there has been a quantum shift in consumer expectations. Today’s urban tourist is savvy, increasingly self-assembling his/her own experiences. He/she is motivated by “deals” as well as “ideals”, with quality and value-for-money being uppermost in mind. Witness the rise to prominence of Airbnb, the room-letting website currently operating in 34,000 cities and reputedly making a booking every two seconds. Equally emblematic is TripAdvisor; its various websites, fuelled by user-generated data, receive approximately 300,000 unique visitors per month. Faced with such trends and intermediaries, “official” destination marketing organisations struggle to justify their existence. In the final analysis, urban tourism is shaped essentially by market forces. So into the future, the key-critical issue for towns and cities (and by extension the International Journal of Tourism Cities) to address is the extent to which in a fast-changing world the public sector can realistically seek to plan, market and otherwise “manage” tourism.

Dr John Heeley

Sheffield Hallam University, UK

City tourism especially in the case of Europe has been changing rapidly. This trend is not independent from the growth of budget air travel. Cities that were the primary destinations for city tourists now face the challenge from so called secondary or tertiary cities. These “new” destinations are the home of smaller, secondary airports for budget airlines and they want to place themselves on the international tourism map. This swift change may raise issues with local communities and may also result in sudden changes to local trade too. Not surprisingly, however, these cities can become rather dependent on one or a few airlines (and sender destinations). Increasingly, city authorities or Destination Management Organisations are expected to contribute to (budget) airlines’ marketing activities at the sender region.

Every tourist city has to confront the demands on how urban and social spaces are consumed as opposed to “traditional” cultural or culturally influenced tourism when tourists visit cultural/heritage sights and events. Cities, especially city centres – or party districts – may quickly become only a backdrop to actual tourism consumption. For instance, visitors to major music festivals can at times flood city centres in the morning and early afternoon looking for something to “kill time”, even if all-night festival partying may leave them with options limited to low-effort activities. On the other hand, grass root developments, creative or lifestyle entrepreneurs can change the urban landscape and make tourist cities more “contemporary”.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities as a turntable for industry and academia alike can play a key role in linking these two worlds – those who research and analyse what is happening in tourism cities and those who make city tourism happen.

Professor László Puczkó

Budapest University of Economics, Hungary

New information technology is reshaping the living space and interpersonal communication of urban residents. Social media, for instance, has swept our lives in urban, national and worldwide scale.

Scholars have predicted a number of changes in urban space influenced by social media, including the mobility of information diffused through social media, which reconstructs urban spatial patterns. Information is also dominating and shaping the economy of urban enclaves, changing development patterns from material and energy oriented to information oriented. As a result of this, social media is creating new urban business environments. Residents and visitors have access to information resources and personalised services from the internet, which reduces the cost of business operations. Electronic interconnectivity is affecting the geographical concentration of resources as well as their point of consumption. New city states are emerging with ubiquitous network interconnections. Interpersonal relationships have also dramatically transformed.

As an emerging journal, the International Journal of Tourism Cities will play a key role in these processes by providing new research perspectives related to changes in the use of public spaces in cities, including fostering a better understanding of leisure behaviours and the business of tourism in urban destinations.

Dr Han Shen

Fudan University, China

Despite economic and political instability and a lack of security in many parts of the world, the relentless growth in international tourism arrivals has continued. The iconic sights and sites in major tourist cities such as London, Paris and Bangkok have continued to draw ever greater numbers of visitors. This has also led to some severe cases of “overtourism”, congestion and failing infrastructures. Interrelated with this has been the dramatic rise of peer-to-peer accommodation, electronic travel guides, mobile applications and the continued expansion of independent travel. From Berlin to Rio there has been increased resistance and protest towards tourism amongst marginalised and displaced inhabitants. These trends have both introduced tourism to areas lacking tourist infrastructure, and increased pressure on the more iconic landscapes and spaces.

Yet there is also a more optimistic outlook on these trends, which I consider will be a key issue over the next ten years. Technology will drive the continued emergence of creative tourists seeking a more holistic and embodied experience. Technology such as geotag social media will facilitate more humanistic, creative and embodied touristic encounters. Technology could increase interconnectivity between like-minded visitors, inhabitants, experiences and places. Whilst it may be going too far to envisage a mobile application to seek out the Danish concept of “Hygge” (approximately translated as a cosy sense of emotional well-being) significant numbers of urban tourists will increasingly seek intimacy, conviviality, comradeship and a sense of place.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities has the potential to change academic and practitioner thinking through the application of theoretical underpinning from a diverse range of disciplines to contemporary city tourism phenomena. The journal is theoretically informed, creative, innovative and current.

Dr Martin Selby

Coventry University, UK

A new brand of Seoul was launched at October 2015. “I SEOUL U” was designated as the official brand of Seoul, instead of “Hi Seoul” which had been used in 13 years to identify and distinguish the capital city of South Korea. Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city in population is consolidating its position as the leading city in the area of “Smart Cities” and “Mobile Technologies”, to be most attractive and influential European destination for innovative global talent. Although it will take some time to figure out the effectiveness of these new positioning efforts, many cities are striving to be representative tourism destinations through city branding strategy. In the past, a powerful brand of a country helped to establish a strong brand of a city in the country as tourist destination. In the future, city branding would have more demanding role in establishing a sound brand for the country it belongs to. “I♥NY”, “I AMSTERDAM”, “beBerlin”, “YourSingapore”, “Yes! Tokyo”, “Hong Kong Asia’s World City” are some of strong city brands which remind tourists of the corresponding countries immediately.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities should address the issue of how city branding might be assessed and monitored by providing global benchmark cases, reliable measurement models, more sustainable touristic models, etc., which come out from both solid theoretical backgrounds and practical implications.

Professor Hong-bumm Kim

Sejong University, South Korea

International tourism has developed significantly over the last few years. The growth in the international tourism market visiting urban destinations is transforming cities and making them more global.

Smart technologies and specifically smart phones will change the behaviour of tourists over the next few years as a growing number of visitors use their smart phones as guidebooks and tools to plan their travel or share their experiences with other people. As a result of this, smart phone data will become an increasingly key resource for tourism research.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities will contribute to advancing international tourism debates by providing a platform for differing viewpoints from around the world.

Professor Guoqing Du

Rikkyo University, Japan

Related articles