Smart Crowding Management: Alternative Tours as a Spatial Dispersal Strategy in Urban Destinations

Authors: Michal Farkash*, Tel Aviv University, Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Amit Birenboim, Tel Aviv University, Aliza Fleischer‏ , Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Topics: Tourism Geography
Keywords: Tourism, tourist crowding, congestion, alternative attractions, walking tours, discrete choice experiment
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 27
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Many popular urban destinations around the world have experienced, before the Covid-19 pandemic, congestion in city centers due to the growing number of tourists. Tourist crowding is associated with adverse impacts such as littering, noise, and degradation of public space, that disturb local population’s quality of life. Now, when tourism flows came to a halt, is the time to think of different strategies to manage this phenomenon in the future.
The nature of tourism phenomenon is to concentrate spatially around the main attractions, which are grouped alongside other services usually in the city center. Development of alternative attractions outside city center in order to decentralize the tourists has been proposed as a strategy to deal with the problem, however there is a difficulty in examining its effectiveness.
A discrete choice experiment was employed to examine Israeli tourist preferences regarding hypothetical alternative tours in Berlin. The tours differ in their characteristics and location from the traditional walking tours. The aim of the study was to assess the potential effectiveness of the strategy in diverting tourists away from the city center and the main attractions. Results indicate interpersonal variance in tourists' inclination tendency towards alternatives. Specifically, personal values, and previous visits to the destination, affect the choice of alternative tours. We conclude that to be effective, crowding management should target identified groups of tourists with tours that best match their needs and characteristics. Such personalized dispersal strategy could eventually be used by decision makers to alleviate the adverse effect of tourist crowding.

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