Managing overtourism through economic taxation: policy lessons from five countries
Overtourism is a rapidly evolving concept relevant to sustainable tourism. While various definitions of overtourism exist, we conceive it as a form of post-mass tourism phenomenon that has transitioned from a state of ‘mass’ to a state of ‘over’, implying irreversible impacts on local populations and landscapes. As such, the focus of overtourism, as discussed in this paper, is on a destination’s supply-side attributes. Using a case study approach, we explore overtourism concerns in five countries, namely France, USA, China, Spain and Italy. The main objective of the paper is to explore the kinds of economic taxations used in managing overtourism. Study findings indicate tourist taxes and entrance fees as popular approaches employed in overtourism concerns; however, their effectiveness in solving environmental problems remains debatable. We propose a combination of destination specific economic and non-economic policies to combat overtourism including the imposing of correctives taxes and fees; sharing benefits among the locals and tourist authorities; maximising the social and economic benefits from tourism for local residents directly impacted by development; smoothing and extending visitors spread and flow; curbing fossils fuels energy consumption and regulating accommodation supplies. The long-term solution is the formulation and implementation of tourism policies that are integrated with the energy, environment and socio-economic policies at the national level. In the absence of integrative policy frameworks, many popular destinations around the world will eventually have to confront issues arising from overtourism.
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University of Tasmania