New SMARTDEST publication: “Analysing the impact of short-term rentals”

By Russo, A.P., Valente, R. (2023).

Growth in the number of properties available for short term rent in European cities is having an impact on local residents.

Read the new SMARTDEST Publication on EU Research: ‘Analysing the impact of short-term rentals’. By Russo, A.P., Valente, R. (2023).

Link to the article: Link

New SMARTDEST publication: “A typology of tourism mobility apps”

By Amit Birenboim, Yael Bulis and Itzhak Omer  (2023).

Smartphones and mobile applications (apps) have become indispensable tools for travelers. Despite their pivotal role in the tourism industry and continuous advancements, our understanding of their usage and integration is limited. Adopting a bottom-up approach, we analyzed and characterized 347 tourism mobility apps, differentiating between globally-used apps and those that are developed and used locally in four renowned tourist destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Venice, and Dubrovnik. The central attributes that characterize these apps were revealed through factor analysis, including tourist-oriented functionality, orientation and navigation, efficacy, effective mobility, social (interaction), and activities. Four types of apps, namely mobility, navigation, interact and experience, and social media, were then grouped using k-means clustering. Our typology facilitates a better understanding of the tourism apps market and the apps’ added value. This topic is becoming increasingly important, considering the smartization processes that destinations are undergoing.

The article can be found at the following link


France lays out strategy to combat ‘overtourism’

Faced with surging numbers of visitors to historic landmarks and natural treasures, France wants to put a lid on the tourist crowds that flood in each year — though officials recognise it won’t be easy.

Unpacking France’s strategic approach to combat overtourism: A testament to the quest for sustainable tourism. As France, one of the world’s most visited countries, lays out its roadmap to balance tourism and conservation, it raises significant questions about the future of tourism globally. This pivot towards mindful travel has implications on local economies, ecosystems, and cultural preservation. Let’s dive into the details and rethink tourism in the era of sustainability. 

The article can be found at the following link


Which cities and countries are cracking down on Airbnb-style rentals?

Italy is considering new nationwide regulations while Penang in Malaysia recently introduced a ban.

This Euronews article presents the policies that some countries are adopting on Airbnb-style rentals.

Analysing the shifting tides of the shared economy: How are cities and countries like Italy, Malaysia, and the USA recalibrating their regulatory approach towards Airbnb-style rentals? This intricate interplay between local communities, governments, and the tourism industry impacts socio-economic landscapes, residential markets, and even cultural preservation. Join me as we delve into this compelling discourse.

How will the future of urban living and tourism be reshaped?


The Most ‘Over-Touristed’ Cities in Europe

Picture by Rachel Claire

Following the end of the COVID pandemic, small and large cities are suffering from the growing number of tourists and visitors. This article shows some interesting data about this phenomena.



NSW’s most popular holiday spots divided over limits on short-term holiday rentals

Picture by Chris John

This article focus the attention on that not all councils agree on best way to tackle homelessness caused in part by popularity of short-term rentals such as Airbnb.


Restrictions on tourists

The autonomous region of Alto Adige, also known as Bolzano – South Tyrol, gateway to the Dolomite mountains in the north of Italy has capped visitor numbers in a bid to prevent overtourism.

The travel destinations that want tourists to stay away

Foto di Gabriella Grifò da Pixabay

This interesting article from Timeout magazine, shows the example of some tourist destinations trying to reduce the number of visitors.

This article by John Bills presents some travel destination among the worlds most popular ones willing and acting to reduce the number of visitors and thus reduce also the negative impact of over-tourism on local communities and the environment.

The negative impact of over tourism of some of these destinations has been analysed also within our SMARTDEST project and results can be considered in line with our findings.

You can read the whole article at the following link:

Overtourism – Can policymaking counteract the phenomenon?

By Guido Stompff and Roos Gerritsma InHolland University of applied sciences.

Tourism is a wicked problem and there is no centrally coordinated policymaking to balance opposing interests. The narrative of growth has failed, but a new one hasn’t arisen or embraced.

Amsterdam is a major tourist destination in Europe and one of the case studies of SMARTDEST. Despite Amsterdam is renowned for its tolerance, since 2014 the discourse towards tourism and its excesses turned sour. COVID-19 revealed its residents what the city is without the crowds and arguably it was one of the drivers for the overwhelming support for a public petition, demanding, among others, to cap the number of visitors. It lead to a recent and significant regime change, gaining international attention. At the same time, it is merely one of the policy changes of the past 20 years.

We wanted to know how these policy regime changes are shaped and by whom. 21 key stakeholders, were interviewed, including planners and policymakers, representatives of (influential) resident organizations, activists, experts, entrepreneurs, and representatives from the industry, each offering another lens on the drivers underneath policymaking in relation to tourism. Two key insight emerged.

First of all, it became clear that tourism is a genuine wicked problem and there is no such thing as central policymaking, a central director, or a political arena where opposing interests are balanced. Tourism is entangled with other issues as housing, and politics are myopic, focusing on high-profile problems nearby: “what they then do is a kind of (..) problem-picking: (..) the coffee shops; the windows in the Red light district… It never works; on the contrary, new problems are created (..) because all the problems are interconnected”.

The inherent solutionism is strengthened by the lack of a centrally coordinated policymaking: policies are made at different level (district, city, MRA, national): “We have broadened the highways [nationally]. We have enlarged Schiphol [Airport]. (..) And now we are wondering [in Amsterdam]: ‘where did all these people come from?’”. Also, policymaking is done by different departments and involving fairly different stakeholders. For example, hotel policies are made and enacted by the department of Economics, whereas Airbnb policies are shaped by Housing. As policymaking is so dispersed, the respondents feel they are left out, and finger-point at others who they believe are influential, who are merely pointing back. At a larger scale, it can be argued that these feelings are a driver for the participation fatigue of residents and organisations that were discussed in the interviews.

Second, the shattered landscape of policymaking implies that there is no long term holistic vision. Respondents discussed the former ‘grand narrative’ of growth as tourism had to mitigate the economic recession of a decade ago. Polices were enacted that instigated entrepreneurship: “everything should be possible, only the excesses must be addressed”. It worked (too) well as numbers skyrocketed. Combined with a faltering enforcement and ignoring the interests of locals, this resulted in much discontent and eventually a political U-turn. However, a new and widely embraced narrative has not been developed yet. The interest in one of the promising attempts of last years (City in Balance) has flawed and recently other attempts were done to develop a another new vision, e.g. by a urban planner who was assigned by the mayor; or by Amsterdam & Partners, a hybrid public-private network organization. Respondents reported mixed feelings about these initiatives.

Barcelona and Covid-19 era: where does virtual mobility win over human (im)mobility?

By Fiammetta Brandajs from Universitat Rovira i Virgili

The current COVID-19 crisis is boosting online activity – everything is increasingly shifting to the digital sphere including mobility.
Which urban areas are most resilient to physical break in mobility?

The latest studies by theorists from different disciplines analyze the bidirectional relationship which links mobilities to digital technology as enabling infrastructure for human mobilities on a large and local scale; as multiplier agent people’s mobile practices; and as an articulating factor of social, physical, mental, and financial relations. Therefore, the ways in which technologies reshape everyday activities and interpersonal relations, as well as connections with others and connections with the wider world, provides a predictive insight into the geographies of the social gap which emerge at territorial level by mapping out “hyper-mobilized” territories rich in technological components that contrast with others “hypo-mobilized” that are poor in functions, and little considered by both public administrations and private investments. This has become increasingly topical with the outbreak of COVID-19, as physical immobility has strongly fostered virtual mobility, revealing a wide disparity among populations in which those with higher income are able to access technology that can ensure work continues digitally during social isolation.

The attempt to analyze the digital disparities within the municipal boundaries of Barcelona is based on the analysis of the synthetic index (Digital Mobility Index), which evaluates both trends in citizens’ usage of technological and digital services and key variables which define the underlying socio-demographic structure of digital development. Finally, a focus on the resulting interdependencies between corporeal and digital mobilities/immobilities based on the study of the mobility of the population during the period of the state of alert.

Key findings

The resulting geographical configuration is illustrated in the two figures below:


Figure 1aDigital Mobility Index and Socio-Demographic Digital Propensity, Barcelona city

Figure 1b Physical Mobility during Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, Barcelona city


Figure 1a

  • The neighborhoods of the Ciutat Vella district, the most cosmopolitan areas of the city that attract the most tourists, stand out with high Digital Mobility Index values supported by the general high Socio-Demographic Propensity Index value as expected due to a multiplicity of factors such as strong population renewal thanks to ‘globals’ and the ‘mobile population’, who are skilled, networked, and have purchasing power; a mainly tourist-oriented economy that is currently technology-based (hospitality platforms, etc.).
  • There are some constants throughout the urban territory and neighborhoods that seem to have incorporated more than others the idea of mobility through the digital environment in a transversal way by encompassing all its variables. These include the vast area of the most privileged neighborhoods of the north-west and south-east axis (coastline), which are the best equipped and most active in the network.

Figure 1b

  • The neighborhoods of the old town move from a high ranking from a digital point of view to the first displacement category in physical mobility during Covid-19 outbreak. This has highlighted the economic monoculture linked almost exclusively to tourism which has turned them almost totally physically immobile territories.
  • The north-west the areas and the coastline neighborhoods, other top-ranked digital mobility territories that are almost totally immobilized during Covid-19 outbreak suggesting a labor mobility supported by a technological substitution.


The immobility caused by COVID-19 has underlined that those who used to move the most physically are now those who move the least, replacing most of their activities with virtual ones since their mobile lifestyle never fully connected them with the surrounding territory, placing them on an almost self-sufficient technological island.

See full paper: