Towards a critical analytical approach to overtourism: the case of the landscape of Santorini

Authors: Theano S. Terkenli*, University of the Aegean, Efthymia Saradakou, Hellenic Open University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Landscape, Cultural Geography
Keywords: tourism destinations, overtourism, landscape management, critical approach, Santorini
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The phenomenon of overtourism is a recent expression of destinations’ inability to copy with excessive tourist demand, exerting strain on the supply side’s infrastructures, human/ social tolerance thresholds and local landscapes. Taking tourism indices, repercussions and measures to the extreme, ‘overtourism’ demands new critical, comprehensive and concerted efforts towards its assessment, analysis, and accommodation—the purpose of this study. Specifically, on the basis of a critical reading of the phenomenon, its circumstances and its repercussions in/for the landscape, this paper proposes an analytical framework for the study of overtourism circumstances and impacts on the landscape, synthesized on the basis of a holistic conceptualization/ understanding of landscape change. It employs the case of Santorini, Greece, in order to illustrate the relevance and applicability of this framework and guide towards a series of considerations which need to be addressed in overtourism management and legislation. The analysis attempts to expose the complexity and contingency of the parameters, mechanisms and circumstances of the overtourism phenomenon and its intricate links with new and emerging trends in both the tourism/hospitality industry and new information and communication technologies, rapidly altering the face of tourism as we know it. It weaves these parameters into a six-fold scheme (infrastructure-society-culture-nature-hospitality-land use management), employed to describe, analyze and discuss such processes in Santorini, closing with remarks and pointers towards future integrative and comprehensive approaches to concerted sustainable tourism destination management, while safeguarding landscape stewardship, especially in light of newly-emerging opportunities and challenges in the global tourism industry.

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