Research for TRAN Committee -Overtourism: impact and possible policy responses

  • Novelli, Marina (PI)

Project Details


This study addresses the complex phenomenon of overtourism in the European Union.

By focusing on a set of case studies, the study reports on overtourism indicators, discusses management approaches implemented within different destinations and assesses policy responses.

It concludes that a common set of indicators cannot be defined because of the complex causes and effects of overtourism. Avoiding overtourism requires custom-made policies in cooperation between destinations' stakeholders and policymakers.

Key findings

Overtourism describes the situation in which the impact of tourism, at certain times and in certain locations, exceeds physical, ecological, social, economic, psychological, and/or political capacity thresholds.

Findings from this study suggest that the most relevant indicators for overtourism are:

• tourism density (bed-nights per km2) and intensity (bed-nights per resident);
• the share of Airbnb bed capacity of the combined Airbnb and bed capacity1;
• the share of tourism in regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP);
• air travel intensity (arrivals by air divided by number of residents); and •closeness to airport, cruise ports and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Key recommendations to the TRAN Committee include:

•To recommend to conduct a more systematic research on the overtourism issue including also rural types of destinations, as well as coasts and islands, and natural and cultural heritage.
• To advocate commencing data collection, at NUTS 3 level, on the number of tourists and day-visitors, Airbnb and other new forms of accommodation and transport mode shares.
• To initiate debates on tourism growth within destinations, with the goal for destinations to put greater emphasis on qualitative elements of tourism development (profitability; local employment, fair pay rates) rather than continued arrival growth.
• To establish a discussion on governance of sharing economy platforms, such as Airbnb, as entities largely outside the control of destinations and policymakers, yet channelling significant financial resource flows from destinations.
• To involve stakeholders and particularly residents in tourism planning and development processes on a regular basis in all destinations.
• To support monitoring the ‘sentiments’ of both tourists, hosts and (other) residents in order to have an early warning of the psychological and social forms of overtourism developing.
• To encourage creation of a cross-EU ‘Task Force on overtourism’. The Task Force should report to the European Commission (EC), provide management recommendations emerging from a constructive dialogue between all parties involved, and develop a monitoring system to detect the causes and impacts of overtourism. This EU-wide Task Force could be a useful benchmark model to be implemented at the destination level.
Effective start/end date1/09/1828/02/19


  • Overtourism
  • European Parliament
  • TRAN Committee


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