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ATLAS Special Interest Group
Urban Tourism Research



Contact details

The contact persons for this research group are:



Melanie Smith
Budapest Metropolitan University

Ko Koens
Inholland University of Applied Sciences





The contact persons for this research group are:
Before the COVID 19 pandemic struck cities were seeing strong increases in visitor numbers. This can be attributed to cities being easily accessible via low-cost-carriers, but also due to the growth of business tourism and the increasing attention of people for cities as places of leisure. Cities, on their part,  have also developed, and now offer a wider variety of hospitality and leisure experiences than ever for visitors and residents (e.g. due to Airbnb and the rise of facilities catering for the ‘experience economy’).

The growth did come at a cost though. The resurgence of the critical discussion regarding negative tourism impacts and externalities in the form of overtourism, can be at least partially attributed to the experiences in often-visited (European) city destinations. Most initial academic contributions on overtourism built on earlier work on tourism impacts as they described the issues that came with tourism and including the ways to deal with this, often using single-case studies. However, more recently, more conceptual contributions have been suggested, related to concepts such as degrowth, tourism transformations, mobilities, city hospitality or placemaking.

As tourism seeks to rebuild after the pandemic, cities can be useful places to experiment and investigate. With its wide range of stakeholders, diverse offerings and activities, cities are well suited to act as incubators for innovations in tourism, thus advancing knowledge on both tourism development in cities and beyond, but also on life in cities and urban planning.

Within the Urban Tourism Special Interest Group we seek to contribute to the academic debate on urban tourism, and build relationships with an eye on joint projects that may can help with knowledge development. More information with regards to our activities in 2021 will follow soon!



Association for Tourism and Leisure Education
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