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This report examines how cultural policy can contribute to the management and development of tourism, and how tourism can contribute to supporting urban cultures. This review concentrates on the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Montreal and Rome, and seeks to add new perspectives to current debates on 'overtourism' and the growth of the sharing economy.
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UCLG Committee
Leading City of Agenda 21 for culture
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Greg Richards and Lénia Marques
Committee on Culture of UCLG
October 2018
The report is available on-line at
The report can be reproduced for free as long as authors are cited as source as follows:
Richards, G. and Marques, L., “Creating synergies between cultural policy and tourism
for permanent and temporary citizens”.
The authors are responsible for the choice and the presentation of the facts contained in
this text and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UCLG
and do not commit the organisation.
Authors: Greg Richards and Lénia Marques.
The copyright of this report belongs to UCLG – United Cities and Local Governments
Greg Richards is Professor of Placemaking and Events at Breda University and
Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg in The Netherlands. He
has worked on projects for numerous national governments, national tourism
organisations and municipalities, and he has extensive experience in tourism
and leisure research and education. His recent publications include the SAGE
Handbook of New Urban Studies (with John Hannigan), Reinventing the Local
in Tourism (with Paolo Russo) and Small Cities with Big Dreams: Creative
Placemaking and Branding Strategies (with Lian Duif).
Lénia Marques is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Organisation and
Management at the ERASMUS University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Besides
having obtained her PhD from the University of Aveiro (Portugal), she completed
a Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Tourism at the University of Barcelona. She
has worked on many international cultural development projects, particularly
in Africa and Brazil. She has also extensive research experience in the fields of
cultural events, creative tourism and sustainable tourism.
Part 1. A review of the relationship between cultural policies
and tourism
1.1 | Background to the study
1.2 | Introduction: The changing dynamics of culture and tourism
1.3 | Drivers of integration between culture and tourism
1.4 | Changing urban forms and governance structures
1.5 | Changing practices of culture and tourism
1.6 | The growth of tourism in cities
1.7 | The impacts of growing mobility on cities
1.8 | Sharing the city
1.9 | Issues in the shared city
1.10 | Blending in?
1.11 | The sustainability of culture
1.12 | Conclusions
Part 2. Culture and tourism in the city case studies
2.1 | Introduction
2.2 | The cities in context
2.2.1 | Culture and creativity
2.2.2 | Culture and the quality of life
2.2.3 | Relationship to foreigners
2.3 | Noise, safety and trust
2.4 | Tourism in the case study cities
2.5 | Reactions to recent tourism growth
2.6 | Conclusions
Part 3. Case Study City Profiles
3.1 | Amsterdam
3.2 | Copenhagen
3.3 | Lisbon
3.4 | Montréal
3.5 | Rome
Part 4. Reflecting on the experience of Barcelona
Part 5. Conclusions
5.1 | Approaches to Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development
5.2 | Reflecting on the model of the city from the perspective of culture
5.3 | Establishing Meeting Spaces for Active Participation in Cultural Life
5.4 | Influencing Tourism Through Mediation and Promotion
5.5 | Reinvesting Economic Gains from Tourism in a Sustainable Cultural Ecosystem
5.6 | Establishing New Spaces for Governance of Culture and Tourism
5.7 | Ways forward?
Part 6. References
Appendix 1: List of interviewees
The previous report on The Relationship Between Culture and Tourism in Barcelona (UCLG-ICUB,
2018) identified the need to address from the perspectives of cultural policies and sustainable
development the critical elements of the culture-tourism relationship, to generate meeting spaces
around active participation in cultural life and promote culture in the tourist offer while reinvesting
the economic gains from tourism in the sustainability of the cultural ecosystem.
The current UCLG-ICUB project on “Creating synergies between culture and tourism for permanent
and temporary citizens” is one more step in this programme. In this initial report, we map out
some of the basic issues that have emerged from previous analyses of the relationship between
cultural policies and tourism. In particular we highlight how both cultural policies and tourism are
changing in response to wider driving factors, and how this is bringing culture and tourism, and
permanent and temporary citizens, closer together.
Culture forms a vital part of the daily life and development potential of every city. Culture feeds the
creative, educational and social aspirations of residents, and also forms an increasingly important
attraction for visitors and other mobile groups. The recent UNWTO report on Tourism and Culture
Synergies (2018) underlines the way in which culture and tourism are increasingly entwined in
terms of cultural development, identity formation, social cohesion and economic growth. Cultural
tourism is estimated to account for almost 40% of all international tourism, and is a major activity
in historic and creative cities such as Barcelona. Now cultural tourism is also expanding into new
directions provided by the creative industries and ‘creative tourism’.
Cities are confronted with a wide range of opportunities and challenges stemming from these
dynamic developments. As the spaces and administrative contexts in which culture, creativity
and tourism most frequently come together, cities need to react to and increasingly direct such
relationships. There is a particularly urgent need to develop constructive and proactive approaches
to the relationship between culture and tourism because of the recent attention focussed on the
negative impacts of rapid urban tourism growth.
In recent years, the increase in tourism flows has called into question previous growth-oriented
models of tourism. Overcrowding, increased pressure on public services and amenities as well
as changing civic priorities have strained relations between local and mobile populations. A
growing range of cultural phenomena have become the object of tourism, expanding the previously
closed system of visiting specific cultural institutions and ‘must see sights’ into an open system
that includes tangible and intangible, built and mobile assets, and ultimately the daily life of the
destination. The ‘local’ is no longer just the taxpayer supporting local cultural provision, but also
the target of tourism consumption and the producer of the local culture sought by tourists.
The increasing synergies between culture and tourism in cities have been stimulated by changes
in both fields. Cultural consumption has shifted historically from an elite pursuit to a more
democratised and generalised aspect of. modern leisure, and increasingly tourism. Sacco (2011)
describes the shift from ‘Culture 1.0’, during which museums, theatres and other cultural facilities
were initially supported by patronage, towards Culture 2.0, where culture became an educational
and economic field, subsidised by the public sector to edify and stimulate growth and jobs, to the
current state of Culture 3.0 (Table 1.1). The diversification of cultural taste under Culture 3.0, and
the fragmentation of cultural production and access to new technologies and media, challenges
the monolithic production of culture under Culture 2.0. Alongside educational and economic value,
culture is also seen as a means of creating identity, stimulating social cohesion and supporting
creativity. The evolution of cultural production and consumption has also affected the interaction
between culture and tourism, from the elitism of the Grand Tour under Culture 1.0 to the growth
of cultural tourism in Culture 2.0 to a much more widespread and fragmented consumption of
different cultural forms under Culture 3.0 (Richards, 2015). In general terms, it might be argued
that cities are seeing a shift from two separate systems of ‘culture’ and ‘tourism’ towards the
integrative phenomenon of ‘Cultural tourism’, and are increasingly moving towards a ‘Culture of
tourism’, in which tourism becomes one of the major modes through which increasingly mobile
populations interact with the urban environment. At the same time, cultural policy is having to
come to terms with an increasingly dynamic landscape within which mobility becomes a cultural
challenge and an opportunity.
Culture 1.0: culture as by-product of
industrial growth. Wealthy merchants
and industrialists invested in culture as
a means of polishing their image and/or
doing good for the community.
Cultural tourism 1.0 – Grand Tour,
cultural consumption by a small elite.
Culture 2.0: culture as industry. With
industrialisation and the growth of the
culture industries, culture became an
economic field, invested in by the public
sector to stimulate growth and jobs.
Cultural Tourism 2.0 – Mass cultural
tourism, development of cultural
resources as tourist attractions.
Cultural tourism 3.0 – Culture as a value
platform for tourism (and vice versa),
increasing integration of tourism and
everyday life. Diversification of different
types of ‘tourism’.
Culture 3.0: culture as a source of
new value(s). The diversification of
cultural taste, the fragmentation of
cultural production and access to new
technologies and media challenges
the monolithic production of culture
under Culture 2.0. Alongside economic
value, culture is also seen as a means
of creating identity, stimulating social
cohesion and supporting creativity.
Part 1 of the report sets the scene against which the city case studies in Part 2 are developed,
focussing on cultural policies and their impact on tourism. To provide a background to the
research this section sets out the state of the art in the development of the relationship between
culture and tourism in cities. First it considers the major forces driving the integration of culture
and tourism, such as globalisation. It then describes some of the main consequences of this
integration, including growing mobility and new practices of culture and tourism production and
consumption. The increased need to share the city, and in particular public spaces in the city, is
then outlined, and finally some issues that arise concerning the sustainability of culture in the
shared city are discussed.
Globalisation has been a root cause of many significant developments in the fields of culture and
tourism in recent decades. In particular, growing linkages between economies and cities have
stimulated increased mobility of resources, ideas and people that have fed through into increased
(multi)cultural consumption and travel and tourism. Globalisation has also been accompanied
by a process of de-differentiation between previously separate fields, such as culture and
economy or leisure and tourism. Globalisation has also been seen as responsible for processes
of standardisation and banalisation of culture, which has in turn produced a search for local and
regional identity. Much of the growth in cultural supply has been at local level, as places try to
increase the quality of life to satisfy current residents and attract new ones, and as they try and
distinguish themselves by emphasising the uniqueness of their culture. Building cultural identity
has stimulated the growth of museums and other local, regional and national cultural institutions.
These cultural assets have not only acted as a stimulus for cultural participation by the (normally)
resident population, but in many cases also for tourists and other mobile citizens. Museums are
often among the most frequently visited sites by residents and visitors alike. In this context many
cultural institutions have had to adopt new roles, not just conserving artefacts, but also developing
cultural education, interpretation and increasingly “edutainment” as well.
Globalisation has had many implications for the role of cities. On the one hand cities have been
exposed to greater international competition, and have to work harder to maintain their profile
and influence. On the other hand, there are new opportunities as well. In the past, it was mainly
the capital cities that acted as the centre of national cultural life, with a largely subservient role
for smaller cities. This has arguably changed as the role of the central state has waned with
globalisation, allowing many smaller cities to carve out a new and independent cultural role for
themselves (Richards and Duif, 2018). In Europe in particular this development has been stimulated
by the growth of city networks, programmes such as the European Capital of Culture and the
increased connectivity offered by budget airlines and high speed rail links.
Many former ‘second cities’ such as Barcelona and Milan have therefore become cultural leaders
in their own right, being able to chart cultural policies that have not just local, but also national and
international consequences. These cities are also beginning to recognise each other as potential
partners, with cultural networks being formed well beyond the capital or ‘world’ cities such as
London or Paris. One of the advantages of smaller cities is that they often offer a higher quality of
life than larger ones, but can still offer much of the ‘soft infrastructure’ that can attract people. As
Richard Florida (2002) has argued, cities now compete to attract the ‘creative class’ by developing
their cultural facilities and atmosphere to appeal to mobile groups. Cities such as Barcelona,
Lisbon and Amsterdam become integrated into the circuits traced by these mobile creatives. Such
mobility is also marked by the rise of creative clusters, cultural events and exhibitions and cultural
and creative education in these cities.
At the same time that cities have changed their position in global and national space as a result of
globalisation, this has also wrought changes in the nature of the urban fabric in both spatial and
temporal terms.
One of the basic consequences of urban growth has been suburbanisation and an increasing
challenge of articulation between city centres and peripheries. Even though European cities have
generally remained more compact than their North America or Asian counterparts, there is a
clear trend towards concentration of cultural facilities and the creative class in urban centres.
Peripheral areas usually suffer from greater challenges of accessibility, lower population densities
and correspondingly lower amenity levels. This is one region why many cities have developed
cultural policies aiming to re-distribute cultural facilities and activities to outlying areas, and to
create greater ‘cultural proximity’.
Spatial fragmentation coupled with the disarticulation of social and personal agendas has led to
new strategies aimed at developing new projects and programmes that are more flexible than the
Culture 2.0 reliance on traditional cultural institutions and built structures. The range of cultural
and creative resources employed now encompasses both tangible and intangible, fixed and mobile
cultural assets, as UNESCO has recognised in its designation of ‘intangible cultural heritage’. In
particular, cities now employ a series of cultural projects and programmes to achieve their aim of
improving the quality of life through culture. These can be more easily targeted, are more flexible,
and often cheaper to run than facilities. This in turn has spawned a new raft of intermediaries,
such as the animateur, who meet the needs of different groups by integrating facilities, projects
and programmes. Many cities have seen a shift in funding models away from structural funding of
cultural institutions towards more project-based funding, which has often been hastened by cuts
in cultural budgets. This tendency is aggravated by the increasing costs of cultural labour, which
according to Baumol’s Law always increases faster than the level of cultural productivity.
The more flexible environment of Culture 3.0 is also ideal for project-based working and the
development of urban programming. Events become tools for cultural development, animation and
city marketing, either as one-off projects or as part of wider strategies. Events can become catalysts
to integrate spatially and synchronise temporally, leading in some cases to a general ‘programming
of the city’. The multiplication of urban festivals, music, cultural and sporting events has been widely
criticised as a process of ‘festivalisation’, providing superficial spectacles rather than ‘serious
cultural content (Hitters, 2007). But some cities have managed to control and direct event activity
into purposeful programmes that support the creation of an ‘eventful city’ (Richards and Palmer,
2010). The eventful city is able to programme events to reach specific and general goals, increasing
benefits to all users of the city. Such broad programming approaches require an appreciation of the
different types of events within the programme. In many cities large-scale ‘pulsar’ events are used as
drivers of structural change (such as the Olympic Games or the ECOC), whereas smaller, community-
based ‘iterative’ events support social cohesion, local identity and the basic cultural fabric of the city
(Richards, 2015a). Wonderful Copenhagen also talks about the ‘Smart Event City’ that aims to create
broader value from large events and local atmosphere and colour from smaller, recurring events.
Given the supposed advantages of event-based strategies, some commentators now position
festivalization as a positive development. Wynn (2016) argues that festivals are a more effective means
of supporting local cultural production and consumption than constructing sports stadia or iconic
museums. However, large-scale events in particular can be just as risky as building ‘white elephant’
stadia. Barcelona learned this lesson the hard way with the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004, as
did Lisbon with the 1998 Expo and Copenhagen with the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest (see Section These mega cultural events helped to develop significant areas of the city and produced
billions in investment, but arguably did relatively little for local people or the culture of the city.
In order to produce significant positive effects, both physical cultural facilities and events need to
be embedded in well-structured programmes (Richards and Duif, 2018). Programmes designed
to involve and bring together people from different backgrounds (and therefore to valorise the
diversity of urban populations) can lead to new forms of socialisation. This is evident for example
in the case of Lille, where the European Capital of Culture in 2004 not only re-positioned the city as
a colourful metropolis, but also spawned the multiannual Lille 3000 programme, which continues
to enliven the cultural agenda to this day.
The main challenges for cultural policy under Culture 3.0 are how to articulate an increasingly
fragmented field of cultural supply, how to connect with an increasingly fragmented population of
citizens and build social capital, and how to move from the role of city as supplier of culture to the
role of facilitator of culture. Culture has expanded, not just in terms of the widening boundaries
of what constitutes ‘culture’, but also in terms of who might form the cultural audience(s). The
traditional system of a cultural value chain in which cities could intervene at a fairly basic level to
control the generation of higher levels of value is now increasingly supplanted by the development
of value networks (Richards and Colombo, 2017) that link producers and consumers at all levels
of value creation. The former position of the consumer as passive receptor of ready-made cultural
experiences at the end of the value chain has shifted towards a value (co)-creation role. Everybody
with a smartphone is now potentially a film producer. This makes it increasingly complex for cities
to know how and where to intervene in order to stimulate different forms of cultural participation,
or to control the public spaces of the city as new scenarios of cultural production and consumption.
In addition, cities themselves have also become embodied value chains (or value networks). The
progressive sedimentation of cultural investment means that the cultural structure of the city is
physically imprinted and there is a high level of path-dependency in cultural policies. Although
projects and programmes seem to offer more flexibility in engaging with mobile populations,
the physical reality remains that the museum, as a fixed, relatively open cultural asset, is more
accessible to both residents and mobile populations than most festivals and events. This is also
one of the factors that explains the enduring role of major museums as the pinnacle of cultural
consumption among both sedentary and transitory populations. This underlines the fact that
urban culture, however intangible or ‘festivalised’, needs space to happen. Creating, finding and
supporting the spaces of culture becomes a major agenda for cultural policy.
Public spaces have always represented points at which the city encounters itself, and because
of its openness and legibility, public space is also where residents and mobile populations are
most likely encounter each other. A major issue here is the privatisation and commodification
of public space (as described by Smith (2015) in the case of public parks in London), which limits
the possibilities to develop practices of visibilization (Citroni and Karrholm, 2017) and therefore to
stimulate dialogue and the development of trusting spaces between different groups.
Smith (2015) describes the multifaceted ways in which parks, as public spaces, are used and
produced by users. However, current trends towards commercialisation have the potential to erode
public spaces by limiting access as well as socialising them through use. He argues that public
spaces in London and other cities are becoming ‘eventscapes’ used by commercial events to
make money, promote their brands, and by cities to attract visitors, generate income and improve
their image. Cities are actively staged as backdrops for events, and this impacts on the quality
of public space. Smith suggests that commodification through events affects the qualities of the
‘loose space’ provided by parks as a space for all. London’s Royal Parks are highly appreciated
by users because of their accessibility, tranquillity and safety, which fit this concept of loose space
well. The free use of accessible streets, squares and parks is seen as facing particular threats
from commercialisation, privatisation and ‘securitisation’. These trends are responsible for the
exclusion of certain people or groups from public space in a neo-liberal ‘selling of the city’.
However, exclusionary views are not just held by managers of public space. Extensive research
conducted for The Royal Parks shows that a 35% of users wanted more events in the Parks, but at
the same time 20% did not want to see more events in ‘their’ park. These results highlight one of
the paradoxes of urban living – many people want to benefit from the animation of public space,
but they prefer not to have it happening too close to where they live.
New governance structures for culture and tourism are emerging as cities seek to deal with the
multiple challenges of funding, access and urban competition. Partnerships between the public
and private sectors are particularly evident in the tourism field, as growth regimes emerge that
support a more direct use of public assets to support economic growth. A logic of value creation
that links public space and institutions with the need to generate income (as in the case of the
Royal Parks) promotes a competitive approach to greater visibility for the attraction of external
resources (tourism, sponsorship). Whereas cultural policy could previously be seen as primarily
attached to the public good, it now also has to consider issues of commodification, value creation
and the attraction of mobile populations who also bring resources and knowledge.
Globalisation has also resulted in a greater focus on popular and everyday culture alongside the high
culture prioritised in the past. In Culture 3.0, the aim is facilitate local creativity and culture rather
than dictate what people should be consuming. Cultural policies have therefore begun to emphasise
outreach and local cultural participation, and more focus on the users of culture rather than a ready-
formed cultural canon. The creation of local cultural centres and mixed use facilities such as the
Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam has become a common cultural strategy. The Westergasfabriek
and the surrounding park are designed to facilitate the participation and creativity of residents, and
this has also caught the new mood in tourism. The latest addition to the park is the Conscious Hotel
Westerpark, the creation of which is described on the website as follows:
We transformed the original, monumental building into a stunning eco-sexy, 89-
room hotel. Situated in lush Westerpark, one side of the hotel overlooks the cultural
grounds of Westergasfabriek (a former gas works) - a hotspot for cultural events and
bustling markets - while on the other side, there’s a tranquil, green park - perfect
for morning walks.
Areas like the Westergasfabriek and the newly designated ‘localhoods’ in Copenhagen offer
tourists an experience of ‘everyday life’ rather than the ‘must-see’ sights listed in the tourist
guides. Contact with local people and local culture has become a more important motivation for
travel than mixing with other travellers (Figure 1.1).
Explore other cultures
Experience everyday life
Increase my knowledge
Learn more about myself
Interact with local people
Relax and avoid stress
Build international friendships
Develop my creativity
Have fun with friends from home
Meet with other travellers
Help people in the destination
Visit friends & relatives abroad
% extremely important
In essence, residents and tourists are increasingly converging in a search for the culture of everyday
life (or the ‘extraordinary everyday’, as Jonas Larsen recently put it). This search is stimulated by a
growing group of new cultural intermediaries and the critical infrastructure of traditional and new
media, journalists, bloggers, cultural critics, gastronomic gurus, graffiti artists and architectural
commentators. The locus of cultural meaning-making has moved out of the museum and into the
street. This can also create a degree of competition for scarce cultural resources, particularly in
those spaces where people have traditionally mingled: the public spaces of cities. Public space is
at the same time under pressure from privatisation and commercialisation, particularly as public
funding for culture comes under greater scrutiny.
One sunny morning I make my normal stop at the baker’s on Carrer Goya for a baguette. This
time it is more crowded than normal. There are two pushchairs – one being guided by an Asian-
looking man with a copy of the Le Routard guide to Barcelona, the other by a local mother. The
man consults his guide book, and when Carmen, the assistant, turns to smile at him, he hesitantly
begins in Catalan: ‘sis croissants si us plau’. Carmen points: ‘aquells, amb xocolata?’. ‘Si, si us
plau.’ The little girl in the pushchair smiles, as does everybody in the bakery. A small moment of
contact confounds the expectation of the tourist-resident encounter. No hostility, no aggravation
from those waiting, just a simple confirmation that culture is not just consumed, but also made
and remade by such contacts, thousands of times a day, in every corner of the city. The question is,
how can we use the soft power of culture to improve the experience of Barcelona for everybody?
The changing role of the state and the growing demand for culture has placed cultural funding
systems under strain. Culture requires large investments from cities, not just in terms of buildings
but also in terms of increasingly expensive labour, and at the same time public budgets are under
pressure. This has produced a move towards the market in many countries, with sponsorship,
merchandising and visitor-generated revenues increasingly being seen as regular income streams
for culture. For cultural institutions this has meant pressure to become more market-orientated
and to attract more visitors to generate more revenue. Attracting more visitors often becomes a
critical success factor for cultural institutions. Some growth in visitor numbers can be created by
enticing residents to visit more often, but the largest sources of visitor growth are often to be found
in tourism. At the same time cultural institutions have also taken on new tasks, such as supporting
the educational system, and aiding the integration of new residents.
In this context cultural tourism is often viewed as a ‘good’ form of tourism, because it provides
economic support for the cultural facilities that cities are often keen to show to visitors. But
at the same time there is also a discourse related to the commodification or culture and the
museumification of cities produced by cultural tourism (very evident in the case of Rome, for
example). In seeking to attract more revenue, museums are sometimes accused of offering
superficial or globalised culture that will appeal to visitors. This tends to support the development
of globalised cultural brands, furthering the serial reproduction of culture in cities (Richards and
Wilson, 2006).
The Guggenheim and the Hermitage have emerged as global arts brands (Evans, 2003) that are
rapidly being replicated. The Guggenheim, driven to increase its profile and income beyond its New
York base, developed subsidiary museums in Bilbao, Venice, Berlin and Las Vegas. At one stage,
60 different cities were on the list for a Guggenheim (Richards, 2000), although many of these
projects never left the drawing board. Guggenheim projects currently being developed include
Guadalajara and Abu Dhabi. The mix of the Guggenheim and Hermitage brands originally trialled
in Las Vegas was also under consideration for Vilnius. Each of the projects presents a similar
model – public sector funding of a starchitect-designed museum to boost tourism. Such facilities
have a high cost, and would not be feasible without public support. This is one of the main reasons
why some cities have lost their enthusiasm for the Guggenheim brand. In Helsinki, for example, it
was estimated that the new museum would cost up to 140 million euros to construct, with annual
running costs of 14 million euros. This was set against admission income of around 4.5 million a
year. This project attracted considerable opposition from the local arts sector, which argued that
the money could better be invested in arts production. Even though a revised, lower-cost project
was presented, the museum was ultimately rejected by the city.
Plans for a Barcelona subsidiary of the Hermitage Museum are currently being discussed. This
project is planned to open in 2019, and is projected to attract 1 million visitors a year.
The growing commodification of both culture and tourism is illustrated by the current wave of
commercial acquisitions in the tours and activities sector, which is largely focussed on cities. Major
companies such as TUI are buying up smaller providers of cultural experiences, such as guided tours
and itineraries. In many cases, in line with the growing interest in the everyday culture of cities, it is not
just the traditional cultural institutions that are commodified in this process, but local life in general.
Tourism has grown from a simplified distribution chain in which culture was one of the market niches
offered by the tourism industry to being integrated with the places in which people stay – experiences
are now co-created by tourists, residents and cultural intermediaries (Richards, 2011).
Florida (2002) and others have argued that cities have become increasingly attractive to the mobile
creative class who choose to locate in places that offer ‘atmosphere’. Although Florida’s approach
has been widely criticised, there is also some support for the general idea that lively cities will
tend to attract the mobile middle class. Places that are attractive to live in are also argued to be
attractive to visit, and one of the clearest signs of this is the growth of urban tourism, particularly
to cities viewed as ‘liveable’, distinctive or atmospheric.
City tourism has been signalled as a major area of tourism growth and as a driver for urban
cultural consumption for more than a decade (ETC/UNWTO, 2005). Various estimates indicate that
city tourism in Europe and many other world regions is now growing faster than other segments
of tourism (Table 1.2). According to IPK (2018) city tourism now accounts for 26% of all tourism
trips, and it is growing at a rate of 16% a year annually. In Europe the growth rate is estimated to
be even greater (20% per annum). Although much of the attention has been shed on the growth of
international tourism, it should not be overlooked that there has also been significant growth in
domestic tourism in many countries as well.
Data reported by European cities also indicates that staying visitors have increased by around
112% between 2000 and 2017, with particularly sharp growth after 2009 (Figure 1.2). This compares
with overall growth in international tourism of 71% in Europe over the same period. The slower
rate of growth indicated by the data on staying visitors in registered accommodation points to two
important trends: first the significant growth in day visitors in many cities and second the increase
in informal accommodation capacity provided by Airbnb and similar ‘collaborative economy’
providers. Neither of these are accounted for in the ‘official’ city tourism statistics.
TOURMIS, 20002017
Total outbound trips
Holiday trips
City trips
Sun& beach holidays
City tourism in Europe
staying visitors (millions)
As a result of the growing interest in local culture, the indications are that the very biggest cities are
experiencing more competition from smaller cities such as Barcelona, Milan and Lyon (Richards,
2014). The city tourism data show that over the past decade smaller cities have been growing
faster than larger cities. These trends are driven by a number of factors, including the growth of
budget airlines (Richards and Duif, 2018).
Even though smaller cities have seen faster tourism growth in recent years, the bulk of all tourism
activity is still found in bigger cities. An analysis of the relationship between city population and
overnight stays indicates a very strong positive correlation (r2=0.798). This means that about 80%
of the variation in staying tourism can be accounted for by population size. The implication is that
most tourists are also to be found in large cities (such as London and Paris), where they form a
relatively small part of the overall population. Many of the negative impacts of tourism are therefore
not just related to the absolute number of visitors in a city, but rather to their concentration in
particular locations within the city.
The pressure on particular ‘hotspots’ in the city is a result of the growth and concentration of
tourists around particular sites, but also to an increasing busyness in cities as a whole. For
example, research in Barcelona indicates that not just international tourists visit the main tourists
locations, but also domestic tourists, day visitors and local residents (Richards, 2016). Unable to
differentiate between these groups, or to influence their behaviour in a targeted way, many cities
opt for a policy of trying to spread tourism.
As the Eurostat report on Urban Europe (2016) notes:
…in keeping with many aspects of urban development, tourism is a paradox, insofar
as an increasing number of tourists in some towns and cities has resulted in
congestion/saturation which may damage the atmosphere and local culture that
made them attractive in the first place; it should be noted that this is not limited to
urban tourism. Furthermore, while tourism has the potential to generate income
which may be used to redevelop/regenerate urban areas, an influx of tourists can
potentially lower the quality of life for local inhabitants, for example, through: higher
levels of pollution and congestion; new retail formats replacing traditional commerce;
increased prices; or increased noise. Venezia (Italy) and Barcelona (Spain) are two of
the most documented examples of such issues.
In responding to the growing integration of culture and tourism, much attention has been focussed
on the problems linked to ‘massification’ (development stimulated by intensified economic activity)
or the more recent term ‘overtourism’ (indicating the presence of tourists beyond some nominal
threshold of carrying capacity). Overtourism is a fairly simplistic view of a very complex issue, which
basically lays the blame for the negative aspects of tourism growth on the tourists themselves.
More tourists mean more noise, litter, inappropriate behaviour and similar problems. In some
cases a link is made between the marketing policies of the cities themselves and particular styles
of tourism, as Nuria Benach (2016) has argued in the case of Barcelona:
Putting “Barcelona on the map” has been the promotion strategy…it seems that
“being on the map” is not just desirable, but unfailingly positive for all. The question
is, however, what a map is and whose interest it serves. Tourist activity commodifies
daily life and needs space to satisfy its desire for expansion…
She argues that this is effectively a new form of dispossession for the residents of Barcelona.
A policy of selling the city to the world essentially boils down to selling the city to tourists, and
prioritising their needs over those of locals. So a basic question becomes: who should have priority
in the competition for scarce urban resources?
In many cities the policy response has also been fairly simplistic: to try and limit the immediate
problems caused by tourists. This often relates to the control of Airbnb and other forms of
unregulated accommodation, where a lack of social control is seen as stemming from the
informal nature of the operation. Other measures have been taken to limit tourist crowding at
major cultural sites, such as timed entry slots at busy sites such as the Anne Frank House in
Amsterdam. Measures to address the challenges of tourism growth have also been evident in
many other European cities (for example Barcelona, Lisbon and Rome) which are all facing similar
At present, much of the activity aimed at addressing the problem of permanent versus temporary
citizenship has been undertaken at the level of individual cities, and has focussed more on issues
of spatial control and regulation rather than the implications of a shared culture. Amsterdam, for
example, has imposed a limit of 60 days on accommodation lettings via collaborative economy
platforms such as Airbnb, and this will be reduced to 30 days in 2019. Such regulatory approaches
can provide an answer to some of the problems in the accommodation sector, but accommodation
is just one element of the problem. The relationship between tourism and culture is more complex,
and involves facilities used by both continuous and temporary citizens and elements of tangible,
intangible, fixed and mobile culture, with varying levels of accessibility to different social groups.
This dynamic cultural landscape generates questions about the ‘right to the city’ (Harvey, 2008) and
within this the cultural rights of different groups within the city. The discussion on ‘overtourism’
has so far concentrated on the ‘threats to culture and heritage’ from tourism (WTTC, 2017), but
little has been said about the potential of using this discussion to initiate more positive approaches.
The changing relationship between culture and tourism has also been framed largely in terms of
cultural institutions reacting to a dynamic tourism market. For example the OECD (2017) suggested
that local government should promote a more positive relationship between culture and tourism
in terms of:
promoting museums locally, nationally and internationally
mobilising its various resources in order to favour the accessibility of museums to
visitors and tourists
promoting coordination between local cultural institutions in supplying integrated
programs in order to lengthen the stay of the visitors
facilitating good cooperation between museums, tourism offices and the hospitality
industry in order to prevent opportunism and unfair agreements on price
Supporting an equilibrium between the needs of local audiences and tourists
In this view, cultural institutions are seen as resources that need to be promoted and made more
accessible to tourists, and suggests that somehow the needs of locals are currently privileged over
those of visitors. Even though the report also recognises that museums can provide knowledge
resources, they are seen as playing a less than full role in local development at present.
Previous research in Barcelona has indicated a high level of support for cultural tourism, which
is generally perceived as a ‘good’ form of tourism in contrast to others (Richards, 2001). But the
level of overcrowding at many key cultural sites has begun to reveal a less positive side to cultural
tourism, and in Barcelona this led to measures such as the levying of an entry charge to part of
Park Güell, while in Rome tourist buses have been banned from the historic centre.
The key questions are how can the positive synergies between culture and tourism be developed
for the good of all citizens, and how can the relationship between culture and tourism be most
effectively managed to provide positive outcomes for all? How can cities move from a reactive
stance on tourism to a proactive facilitation of tourism and culture synergies?
There are many indications that policies on culture and tourism are becoming increasingly
At national level, Iceland has recently established a department of Tourism and Creative Industries,
which aims to attract tourists to the country by showcasing Icelandic creativity, for example through
events such as HönnunarMars (DesignMarch), Reykjavík Fashion Festival, Aldrei fór ég suður,
EVE Fanfest and Iceland Airwaves. Iceland is also home to the Creative Iceland platform, which
allows visitors to ‘Book authentic cultural and creative activities offered by local experts’ (http:// At city level the Department of Culture and Tourism is responsible for cultural
affairs and the operation of Reykjavik’s cultural institutions.
Many cities are now actively trying to link tourists and locals. “Tourist in your own city” is hosted by
the City of Oslo, VisitOSLO and the Museums and Attractions of Oslo.
“The purpose of this annual event is to allow all inhabitants of Oslo to get better acquainted with
their city’s many exciting museums and attractions, as well as familiarizing themselves with one
of Europe’s leading networks of public transport. We hope this way to contribute to make everyone
better equipped as good ambassadors for Oslo, as well as knowledgeable hosts for friends and
family who come to visit.”
In Brussels holograms of 500 local people have become attractions both for residents and visitors.
This programme aims to “Show off the people, not just the sights” in an effort to counter the
effects of the recent terrorist attacks in the city. A “holobooth” was set up in the Mont des Arts
cultural district in central Brussels. Passers-by were invited to enter the booth and have their
figures captured by a camera in 360. The image was then turned into a grey, statuesque hologram
and projected as a five-metre-high silhouette onto a plinth.
Increasingly the integration of culture and tourism is driven not just by policy, but by the cultural and
creative sectors as well. The Designer’s Guide to London (2013) also provides recommendations
from people in the design sector for people interested in creativity:
“But what is it about the city that attracts all this creative talent? What do these artists do and
where do they go to keep them inspired? Well, we asked London-based designers to send in their
hang-out recommendations and, after an overwhelming response, we’ve collated the information
to create this awesome designer’s guide to London.”
Even though there is growing evidence of integration between culture and tourism, the indications
are that considerable barriers remain between these two fields, and progress is slow. The
challenges include the different ‘languages’ of the two sectors, their relatively traditional outlooks
and the relative inflexibility of public administrations. In such a dynamic field, it is hard for cultural
policies or actions to keep up with developments on the ground.
The priority seems to be not selling the city, or re-making it for tourists, but finding new ways of
sharing the city and its success. Barcelona has sought to address this through changes in the civic
codes and regulation of tourist facilities and the re-visioning of ‘tourists’ as ‘temporary citizens’,
thereby seeking to shift the tourist from a pure consumer into a prosumer of culture.
The Barcelona City website also provides detailed information on tourism, arguing that “Shared
knowledge is an essential tool in addressing the debate on tourism in the city. In this section, data
is being made available to citizens, entities, companies and administrations.” The portal aims to:
make information available to the general public, and all those people interested in tourism in
Barcelona, concerning the initiatives undertaken by the City Council and the decisions arising from
discussions between institutions, associations and other bodies, as well as offering statistical data
that will provide a more detailed picture of the state of tourism in the city.
The overall aim is twofold:
to make tourist activities more sustainable, increasing their positive impact on the
city and managing any possible negative effects.
to facilitate the integration of visitors, by fostering the necessary coexistence with
residents and preserving the values of identity and social harmony.
The aim is clearly to develop a view of a city shared between the different groups that use it,
primarily to increase the quality of life of residents. The Barcelona approach can be seen as an
attempt to re-vision the relationship between culture, residents and tourists, and to move to a
situation in which all share a proactive and beneficial relationship. This move correlates quite well
with the developing debate about the ‘right to the city’, which has been simmering for decades
(Harvey, 2008; Shields, 2013). The basis of this debate revolves around the notion of citizenship vs
consumption. In other words, whether the right to the city is conferred by the state or the market.
Lefebvre (1995) tried to reconcile these two poles through the concept of the ‘Citadins’ or urban
dwellers, which would:
make more practical the rights of the citizen as an urban dweller (citadin) and user of multiple
services. It would affirm, on the one hand, the right of users to make known their ideas on the space
and time of their activities in the urban area; it would also cover the right to the use of the center,
a privileged place, instead of being dispersed and stuck into ghettos (for workers, immigrants, the
“marginal” and even for the “privileged”). (Lefebvre, 1995, p. 34)
A right to the city enfranchises a new citizen, who is not simply a user of the city but a participant in
its creation and interpretation. The ‘citadin’ has stronger ties to local community than to a national
political community. This local actor is often found in the figure of the activist (Grazioli, 2017). The
outsider can disrupt the status quo and create new sectors that operate outside the market (such
as intellectual knowledge) or which privatized an undervalued common good (e.g., an insight,
resource or space). Outsiders (immigrants, ex-pats, tourists) can therefore be important creators
of value, but their ability to operate is dependent on the openness of the city. An interesting
illustration of the change from traditional models of citizenship in the nation-state is given by the
fact that only citizens of a country can usually vote in national elections, whereas people who are
(temporally) resident in a city may only participate in local politics. Being a citizen used to roughly
equate to the sedentary population. But now the city dweller is in perpetual motion, and social
relations tend to become international, due to physical and virtual contacts.
One of the issues, as Lefebvre (2014) suggests, is that the post-industrial growth of cities shifted
the role of the city centre from that of productive (and therefore working class) space to the role
of consumption space, dominated by the middle class. The modern city failed to build new social
relations to link the different parts of the city together, leaving many areas marginalised socially
as well as spatially. But in recent years the growth of tourism and post-industrial industries such
as finance have re-valued the city centre as a productive space, where the most visible industry is
tourism. The co-incidence with attractive consumption spaces with the new productive power of
tourism has led to the development of interstitial productive activities related to tourism. These
activities are usually dominated by the same cosmopolitan groups as those that make up the
majority of city-centre tourists.
It is striking that many of the new tourism intermediaries in Barcelona are foreigners. As Arias
Sans and Quaglieri Domínguez (2016:219) note for example:
The knowledge of the Italian language is indicated in more than one fifth of Airbnb listings studied
in Barcelona, whilst the proportion of Italian citizens in the whole resident population is relatively
marginal. Most of the foreign residents active on Airbnb tend to be white, western middle class
‘ex-pats’ rather than being representative of the migrant of population of the city as a whole.
Much of the recent innovation around tourist transport in Barcelona has also been led by European
ex-pats. This includes the creation of a large number of bike hire companies, predominantly
founded by Dutch migrants, and the Cooltra scooter hire company, founded by German brothers
living in the uber-cool Gràcia neighbourhood (Richards, 2016). These ex-pats bring with them
specific technical skills, but they also have the communication channels necessary to reach
foreign markets in the countries of origin, which is far more difficult for most spatially, culturally
and linguistically embedded locals. The new resident is also often an entrepreneur, making a living
from new combinations of elements of culture that are often invisible or unknown to the longer-
term residents.
One of the most evident changes in the practice has been the shifting boundaries of the ‘tourist’
and the ‘host’ or ‘local’. The rise of the mobilities paradigm has underlined the shift from highly
directed to much more diffuse and widespread forms of tourist movement. Whereas in the past
tourists were fairly easy to identify and localise through their relatively limited range of behaviours,
today the concept of the tourist is much more difficult to define. Growing numbers of people travel
for a wide range of reasons which may have little to do with the idea of a ‘holiday’. Many people now
travel with a mix of leisure and work or study motivations, such as ERASMUS students, lifestyle
entrepreneurs or ‘global nomads’ (Kannisto, 2014). Again, these patterns emphasise the important
role of expats in providing the conduits to the local buzz, particularly in cities.
Russo and Richards (2016) note the changing position of the ‘local’ in respect to tourism as a result
of the growing importance of performativity and creativity in tourist practices. The positioning of
the city as a field of both creative production and consumption (Scott, 2010; Florida, 2002) means
a fundamental shift in the way in which culture is consumed by both locals and tourists and the
ways in which these groups interact. The shift in the role of the city centre from a productive to
a consumption space means that new narratives and spaces should be constructed to make it
consumable. The process of narrative construction and spatial transformation is most evident in
the rise of events, creative clusters and themes that link the physical space of the city to easily-
recognisable narratives. On the one hand, there are attempts to create narratives related to
local identity, giving a feeling of belonging and cohesion to residents, but this is usually mirrored
by narratives aimed at developing external distinctiveness and boosting place image. These
processes are not entirely new, as the reconstruction of the Barri Gotic in Barcelona in the 1920s
and 1930s attests (Ganau, 2008). But they have gained pace in recent years, particularly as the shift
from Culture 2.0 to Culture 3.0 has created more diversity in the ways that cities can be culturally
experienced. Narrative creation has changed from a predominantly top-down process, controlled
by the local or national state, into a multidimensional top-down and bottom-up experience
development process.
The fragmentation of the previous monolithic narratives of city space and identity means that the
city is increasingly experienced in different ways by different groups and individuals. In the case of
Krakow, for example, Pawlusiński & Kubal (2018) show how the previous focus on built heritage
in the city centre is now being supplemented with ‘creative tourism’ experiences that draw on a
wide range of different narratives, including the Jewish history of the city and the development
of socialist housing estates. Marwick (2018) notes that similar processes have been kick-started
in the Maltese city of Valletta through the re-framing of place and community in the European
Cultural Capital for 2018. This diversification of narratives offers the possibility of shifting some
visitor attention to new locations and linking these to the daily lives of residents. In this situation,
there is also more possibility of residents and tourists encountering each other and developing
co-creation processes.
In particular, major cities have become places where different groups of relatively mobile
cosmopolitans meet with the relatively sedentary ‘locals’. As Russo and Quaglieri-Domínguez
(2012) have pointed out in the case of Barcelona.
It is up to the cities and regions to accommodate such diversity and nurture the social and cultural
connections or ‘atmospheric’ elements that determine their capacity to offer a distinct and
stimulating atmosphere where, according to the logic of experience marketing, ordinary activities
are transformed in memorable experiences.
There is also evidence that the ‘local’ population is also actively involved in this reproduction of the
everyday. Research in Barcelona shows that 47% of local residents have provided accommodation
to friends and relatives in the past year, supplementing the more commercial spaces provided via
Airbnb and the hospitality exchange possibilities of Couchsurfing. Most of these residents also act
as an information source, with 98% giving recommendations about what to visit (Ajuntament de
Barcelona, 2015).
Even Airbnb is a proponent of the shared city. Brian Chesky, one of the founders of Airbnb recently
spoke about the ‘shared city’. “We are committed to enriching cities and designing the kind of
world we want to live in. Together, let’s build that shared world city by city.” Sharing with strangers
is one of the cultural practices currently being shaped by the collaborative or sharing economy. It
is therefore important that cities are also actively involved in these processes.
The involvement of Airbnb in discussions about the shared city underlines the fact that the
notion of sharing can be interpreted in many different ways. Essentially cities have always been
spaces shared between different groups, but as space becomes more scarce, discussions about
who should have priority begin to grow. This is particularly interesting in the sphere of tourism,
because the ‘right to the city’ can also be measured against the ‘right to tourism’. This is a concept
promoted by the UNWTO, arguably to protect vested interests in the tourism industry (Gascón,
2016). But the right to tourism can be used to suggest that individuals exercising a certain style of
mobility (tourists) have the right to consume the culture of other (relatively sedentary) populations,
or elements designated as ‘world heritage’. In this way the right to tourism can come to limit the
cultural rights of the peoples who are visited, essentially giving mobile populations more rights
than the sedentary residents.
The idea of sharing the city is an attractive one, but it is not without its challenges. Sharing
supposes a level of interaction, communication and trust between different users of the city.
Agyeman and McLaren (2017) argue that whole cities can act as shared spaces, and that sharing
can have positive outcomes, because:
Humans are natural sharers
Sharing Cities Prioritize Social Justice
Sharing increases trust and collaboration
They see in the act of sharing cities not only a “Right to the City” and the urban commons but a
right to remake them. This also implies that the act of sharing essentially eliminates the binary
division between resident and visitor, between home and away.
In order to share the culture of the city and to co-create ideas about the city, there has to be a
certain degree of porosity to the urban fabric. In terms of cities, porosity refers to the spaces
available for interaction. These are primarily, but not exclusively, public spaces. The balance
between public space and other types of space (personal, intimate, social) is a mirror of social
relations (Madanipour, 2003). The notion of public space supposes access, which can take different
forms, including access to physical spaces, activities in those spaces, information about them and
resources. Public space is essentially outside the control of individuals or small groups, making a
supposedly equal space that all have access to.
Sennett (1977) decried the decline of public life in cities, arguing that the street was being replaced
by the living room as the site of social interaction. In fact, rather than a physical decline in the
use of public space, social space in cities is thriving, and that as public space becomes more
crowded, the more pressure there is to control it. Various factors in recent decades have tended
to increase the pressure on limited public space, including the growth of urban populations, the
resurgence of inner-city areas, increased mobility and the growth of tourism. Nagel (1995) sees
the boundary between public space and other types of space as important, because public space is
managed through conventions, and private spaces are more free. This distinction goes to the heart
of current debates about the relationships between residents and tourists. As the locus of tourist
activity moves from public space (or in the context of accommodation from commercial space to
the private space of the home), so the tourist is entering more intimate and ‘free’ areas of space,
away from public convention and commercial surveillance.
So the relationship between culture and tourism in cities involves a double problematisation of
space. On the one hand, the fact that tourists add to pressure on the public spaces of the city, and
on the other, that the movement of tourist consumption into ‘new’ private and intimate spaces of
residents is generating new relationalities. This process is particularly visible in the distinctive
context of neighbourhoods within the city, because these provide the basic for local identities and
intimacies as well as feeding the tourist desire for new experiences of the everyday. One particular
problem revolves around the types of neighbourhoods that are popular with residents as well as
mobile groups. The cultural dominance of the centre established under Culture 2.0 is now being
strengthened by tourism and new (international) residents attracted by the culture/openness of
inner city locations. On the other hand, the urban periphery is suffering from fragmentation and
problems of accessibility, which also make these areas less attractive to outsiders.
In the case of Copenhagen, Szilvia Gyimóthy (2018) emphasises the role of Airbnb in strengthening
such patterns. The highest densities of peer accommodation rental are located in the city centres
and around major attractions, although there is also some indication of Airbnb’s “beaten track”
extending to residential areas. New tourism nodes are clustered around “localhoods” and reframe
tourism consumption around mundane activities, leading to the commodification of everyday life.
The Airbnb ‘host’ plays the role of making these new areas accessible to tourism consumption. In
many cases, as Arias Sans and Domínguez (2016) also note in Barcelona, these intermediaries are
themselves relatively mobile ex-pats, (temporary) residents who give new eyes to the sedentary and
mobile populations alike. As Franquesa (2011) points out, the immobility of the ‘local’ is recursively
produced by the mobility of the tourist. So even relatively mobile individuals, such as ex-pats, can
become ‘local’ thanks to the fast track mobility of the tourist. These individuals are often be found
acting as guides to the local culture for visitors from their former home countries in cities such as
Barcelona and Amsterdam.
Lisbon is a fascinating city for students of the new ‘tourbanism’, because the sheer pace of
change has outstripped anything that even Barcelona can offer. Only a few years ago Lisbon was
relatively untouched by the growth in city tourism, sheltered by higher flight prices and a severe
recession that limited development. Taking a stroll in the Principe Real district of the city in May
2017 shows how much has changed in just a few years. On a Saturday morning the street market
is in full swing, complete with craft beer stall and artists painting the street scene. Tourists wander
between stalls selling home-made jam, dried fruit and waffles. Further down the street there is a
brand new open-fronted restaurant serving sparkling wine to a group of tourists sprawling across
the pavement. They have been delivered by jeeps belonging to the ‘We hate Tourists’ tour company.
Obviously, they don’t hate all tourists, because the inside of the restaurant is also crammed with
them. This scene contrasts with the small, dark restaurant next door, where the menu is only in
Portuguese and where the staff serve simple food to a mix of curious visitors and local pensioners.
One regular guest waits patiently as the waiter puts a bright red bib carefully around his neck,
making small talk as he does so. Walking down the hill towards the Avenida da Liberdade there
are more signs that everyday life still survives among the tourist throng. A small park is dressed
up for local festivities for Saint Anthony, patron saint of the city. A whole pig is slowly roasting over
an open fire and families are eating at long tables. The smell of sardines, the traditional food of
the festa, hangs in the air. A bit further on, we encounter the empty shells of old buildings being
gutted for desirable residential developments, the facades staring blindly at the cranes looming
overhead. Spilling onto the Avenida itself we encounter the police, busy blocking off the roads for
a demonstration due to be held that afternoon. People were demonstrating about lack of jobs and
growing job insecurity, which seemingly go hand in hand with the growth of new tourism models.
Among the interested spectators is a file of tourist jeeps, wending their way through Lisbon in a
leisurely urban safari.
This single stroll reveals the scale of the changes being wrought in Lisbon, just as in other cities. But
the changes are not simply due to tourism alone. There is a heady cocktail of property speculation,
gentrification, globalisation, migration and cosmopolitanism that is increasingly infusing cities
across Europe. (Source: Richards, 2018).
Is it possible to create a new notion of the shared city, where sedentary and mobile populations
create and consume culture together? As Lim and Bouchon (2017) suggest:
The boundaries between tourists and residents are becoming less visible in global
enclaves of consumption and production. This encounter could be called “blending
of practices” and be conceptualized to understand trends affecting urban tourism…..
Conventionally, tourism has been seen as a separate activity and tourists as a separate
group, with particular demands and interests differing from city residents.
This idea of separation is now changing, as Richards (2016) shows in the case of Barcelona, where
the tourist is in search of the local, and the local also engages in ‘tourism in their own city’. But
as Lim and Bouchon argue, the integration of mobile population with the local is more complex
than expected.
In some cases, visitors are still perceived as “strangers” and create resentment because
locals are competing for the same space. Language and culture remains strong gradients
of differentiation between locals and visitors. The blending-in of residents and tourists
leisurely practices echoes the quest for off-the-beaten tracks sceneries and activities…
City experience is for a growing part of visitors an immersion into the residents’ daily
life, with the excitement of being part, or feeling like to be part of the city. Cities present
discrepancies between the institutionalized tourism spaces and products and the hybrid
forms of tourism practices. To conclude, it should be said that a city’s quality of life for
residents is likely to have the highest impact on visitors and later repeat visits rather than
just attractions that will not create a high personal relationship with the city. …
Very often the challenge is that of embedding. Embedding a diversity of people and their diverse
practices in the city in such a way that collective benefits are generated. One problem is that
movement and mobility are the new badges of rank in the developed world. This mobility produces
interesting new challenges: for example, how do new residents feel at home in a new city? One of
the potential advantages of tourism is the increasingly relational basis of tourism practices. We
visit cities because of the local people and the opportunity to live like them, rather than just to look
at them. In this sense, as Madanipour (2003) suggests, the theatrical metaphor of public space as
a stage is weakened as the audience also begins to play a role on the stage of the city (just as they
increasingly do in the theatre).
For cities, this situation places an increasing emphasis on what Richards and Delgado (2003)
termed ‘trusting spaces’, where the users of specific spaces can come together and develop
relationships of greater or lesser duration. This in turn facilitates the sharing of knowledge and
skills, strengthening the practice of relationality itself. Disembedded trust (being able to trust
strangers) and bridging capital enable communities to draw on a wider range of knowledge, skills
and creative resources than would have been possible previously. Traditional systems of cultural
production based on the face to face exchange of cultural information have been supplemented by
new systems of exchange via social media and other information systems. Whereas in the past the
key to developing sustainable cultural practices was to ensure that all members of the community
engaged in more or less the same types of cultural practice (having enough people to build castells,
or run the local festival), now places can increasingly call on a pool of ‘temporary citizens’ to
supplement the permanent reservoir of cultural labour. The Creative Tourism Barcelona platform
provides many examples of how the temporary citizens of Barcelona contribute to the cultural life
of the city, such as the temporary residents who are now members of the Castellers de Gràcia.
The ‘local’ has been taking on the position of a collaborative marker of authenticity that is co-
created between residents (including temporary residents) and visitors. This tends to shift the
focus of tourism activity away from the traditional public spaces of the city towards the private
and interstitial spaces of the home, the atelier or the hostel. Consumers are also becoming more
skilled, and the gap between producer and consumer is narrowing. Because the consumption of
tourism increasingly involves the everyday, the types of skills required become more closely aligned
to skills gained from other fields, enabling an expansion of the provision of such experiences
by those with no experience of tourism. There has also been a vast increase in peer-to-peer
provision of information and skill development, such that the professional gatekeeping function
has become far less important. The core competence is no longer understanding of the tourist, but
understanding the communities tourists come from. This has positioned ex-pats as particularly
useful collaborative tourism intermediaries.
This discussion of the relationship between relatively mobile and sedentary populations in the city
begins to pose important questions about the sustainability of urban cultures. As Agenda 21 for
Culture states:
Cities and local spaces are a privileged setting for cultural invention which is in constant
evolution, and provide the environment for creative diversity, (with) encounters amongst
everything that is different and distinct (origins, visions, ages, genders, ethnic groups and
social classes)….
This is an important commitment to cultural dynamics and diversity, which are necessarily linked
to cultural exchange and open contacts between people of different origins. This is a process
that is arguably stimulated by the growth of tourism, as it enables people from many different
backgrounds to encounter cities and cultural places. At the same time, the traditional movement
of tourists is a challenge for diversity, because the need to consume culture quickly and easily is a
driver for simplification and the superficial presentation of cultural phenomena. Without a deeper
understanding of the culture around them, mobile populations, and tourists in particular, will take
away their own (fleeting) impressions, but may lack understanding of what they see. This raises
questions about how they can contribute to the value and valuing of cultural assets. At the moment
the measure of value is usually economic, measured in tickets sold and visitors counted. This is
unlikely to reflect the diversity of cultural values embodied in these assets, and may not actively
contribute to the wider sustainability of local cultural expressions.
But framed another way, the temporary citizen is also the bringer of new cultural influences and
creative impulses. This is evident in many cities from the creation of street art by ‘street artists
in residence’ and other mobile creatives who add colour and their own vision to the urban fabric.
In the final analysis, the question of sustainability revolves around the legacy that current
generations of permanent and temporary citizens are able to leave for future generations. In the
case of culture, this includes not just the physical legacy of museums and monuments (which to
some extent can be protected from the streams of tourists) but also the living legacy of a dynamic
urban culture. If cultural policies are not capable of supporting and defending the vitality, diversity
and dynamism of local cultures, then the relationship between culture and tourism will not be
sustainable in the long term.
The picture that emerges from this first part of the research is far more complex than contemporary
debates about ‘overtourism’ would suggest. As Benach (2106) argues, it is not the tourist who is
the source of the problem, but their casting in the new role as urban stranger. Cities are seeing a
new drawing of lines between insiders and outsiders that is catching the relatively mobile on one
side of the line and relatively sedentary groups on the other. One of the major challenges for cities
is to reframe the negative discourse of tourism into a more positive and proactive formulation of
‘temporary citizens’, who then also become legitimate subjects of cultural policy, rather than just
tourism marketing.
The search for a more positive articulation between cultural policy and more mobile populations
involves a number of challenges:
Finding effective ways of managing public space and reconciling competing demands
upon it. This is not a new challenge, but one that has been given additional urgency
with the rapid growth of tourism.
Combating the serial reproduction of culture – the conscription of cultural facilities
and narratives into the articulation of cities with global markets has increased the
hollowing out of cultural meaning and the proliferation of global cultural brands.
These are also often seen as directly competing with local cultural production.
Cities need to deal with the fragmentation of culture and cultural consumption,
which makes it more difficult to communicate with cultural consumers, or
permanent and temporary citizens.
The fragmentation of culture has also multiplied the frames applied to culture,
particularly in terms of the growth of events, cultural and creative clusters and
creative platforms. There is a need to load these new temporal and spatial frames
with new meanings that appeal to a wide range of potential users.
Changing attitudes to outsiders and certain forms of mobility that can also
potentially restrict mobility related to cultural production, consumption and
At the same time there are also a number of opportunities presented by the current situation:
The rise of the sharing city, which can create new connections between people based
not on ownership or economic exchange, but on other forms of relationality
Using the growing pool of ‘temporary residents’ to provide a bridge between local
and global culture, and to diversity the cultural and creative offer.
To tap into the flow of temporary citizens to produce and consume culture.
To position culture as a transversal tool that can help to overcome barriers and ‘silo
thinking’ in the management of cities.
Mobile populations, as groups who are almost always ‘out of the box’, can stimulate cities to think
about their relationships with less mobile groups as well.
The review of the state of the art regarding the relationship between culture and tourism in cities
presented in Part 1 of the report has given some general, largely theoretical pointers. The second
part of the analysis centres on the practical experience of cities in this field. The basis of the report
consists of a review of cities with a similar profile and/or challenges to Barcelona.
The reference cities for the study are:
Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, which has been proactive in developing policies
to stimulate cultural participation in city neighbourhoods and re-direct the flows of
tourists, also by using new technologies.
Lisbon, Portugal, which is a city developing extremely rapidly and provides an
example of the challenges of effective planning and the need to conserve local
identities in the face of globalisation.
Rome, Italy, which has been plagued with many problems of civic management,
which tourism only adds to. The city is dealing with the weight of its considerable
heritage at the same as trying to stimulate contemporary cultural development and
improve the accessibility of culture.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, which is developing ‘Localhoods’ as tourist
attractions, has used noise and zoning laws to keep tourism from getting out of
control, and has a strategy of getting tourists to blend in.
Montréal, Quebec, in Canada was chosen as a point of comparison outside Europe.
Montréal is interesting for its long history of promoting cultural tourism, the growing
importance of the creative industries and new technologies and the unique position
of the French language.
These cities are broadly comparable in terms of scale, their important cultural assets and the
recent rapid growth of tourism. Although direct comparisons are often difficult, the cities offer
a range of different perspectives on the relationship between culture and tourism that can be
instructive. Including cities from northern and southern Europe gives opportunities to look at
the effects of different economic and cultural contexts, as well as contrasting cities with longer
experience of tourism development (especially Rome) with those with more recent experience
(Copenhagen). In addition, these cities also often see each other as peers and look to each other
in both culture and tourism. For example, the
Strategic Plan
for Lisbon Tourism (ATL) includes
international benchmarking with 10 cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Copenhagen.
In each of these cities the research team collected both primary and secondary data on the
relationship between cultural policy and tourism. First, a review was undertaken of available
policy documents, reports, publications and secondary data relating to cultural policy and tourism.
This enabled us to build a contextual overview of the different cities and their development in the
two fields. Secondly, interviews were conducted with key actors in each of the cities, including
representatives of public authorities, industry bodies, academics and researchers in the cultural
and tourism fields. A total of 16 interviews were conducted, either in person or via Skype or
telephone (see Appendix 1 for a list of interviewees). The precise content of the interviews varied
according to the background and knowledge of the respondent, but in general the following
subjects were covered:
Cultural policy – cultural policy, cultural consumption trends, cultural facilities,
cultural administration and funding
Tourism policy – tourism policy, current trends in demand and supply, context,
position, administrative structure
Linkages between culture and tourism, including governance issues
The position of tourists in the city (as consumers and producers of culture,
temporary citizens, etc)
Strategies for the future
In the following section some basic comparisons are made between the case study cities, and with
One thing that all the cities have in common is that they play an important role in both the cultural
and tourism fields. They are national or regional capitals that play a pivotal role in attracting flows
of investment, finance, labour, knowledge and visitors. Much of their attractiveness stems from
their role as cultural hubs, with Rome positioning itself as ‘the world capital of culture’ (Roma
Capitale, 2016) and Montréal seeing itself as a ‘cultural metropolis’.
In terms of size, the cities range between 500,000 and 2,500,000 inhabitants. The population of the
city proper is often misleading, however, because the central municipalities tend to be surrounded
by considerable satellite populations that fall outside the administrative boundaries of the city. In
most of the cities the metropolitan population is two or three times bigger than the city itself. In
the case of Lisbon, however, the city is a single municipality which only has 530,000 residents, but
it is the heart of the Lisbon metropolitan region (18 municipalities) that houses 2.8 million people,
or five times the population of the city. This means that the comparisons between the cities should
be approached with a degree of caution.
Metropolitan population
City population
City and Metropolitan populations
2.2.1 Culture and creativity
These large urban centres all offer a rich and varied range of cultural facilities and activities.
Although it is difficult to directly compare the cultural offer because of differences in size, location
and history, some sources are available that have tried to produce comparative cultural data. We
have drawn on data from a number of sources, including the World Cities Culture Report 2012-
2014, the European Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor (2017), Eurostat data from the database
Urban Europe statistics on cities, towns and suburbs (2016), and data from the individual cities
on their tourism and cultural supply and activities.
Most of the cities have a considerable built heritage and a large number of museums, often
including national institutions which are not run by the city directly. Rome in particular stands
out as having a rich cluster of museums. Museums are usually a key attraction for visitors as
well as an essential cultural and knowledge resources for residents, and this is reflected in high
visitor numbers. In Barcelona, for example, there were 7.8 million museum visitors in 2016,
73% of whom were international visitors, and a further 9% were domestic visitors from outside
Barcelona (ICUB, 2015). Amsterdam had 13 million museum visitors in 2016 and Copenhagen,
3.6 million visitors.
Data from Eurostat also indicate that cities such as Barcelona, Lisbon and Copenhagen have a
very high level of museum visits relative to the resident population (Figure 2.3). This underlines
the potential of tourism to increase cultural demand, enabling cities to support a supply of
cultural facilities in excess of that which could be supported by the resident population alone.
Source: WCCF
Versailles (FR)
Speyer (DE)
Weimar (DE)
Stralsund (DE)
Heidelberg (DE)
Paris (FR)
Barcelona (ES)
Stockholm (SE)
Lisboa (PT)
Potsdam (DE)
Porto (PT)
Friedrichshafen (DE)
Sibiu (RO)
Tartu (EE)
København (DK)
Brugge (BE)
Valencia (ES)
Dresden (DE)
Kraków (PL)
Funchal (PT)
Toledo (ES)
Veliko Ternovo (BG)
Palma de Mallorca (ES)
Banská Bystrica (SK)
Berlin (DE)
Alicante/Alacant (ES)
Wrzburg (DE)
Innsbruck (AT)
Dublin (IE)
Bonn (DE)
Source: Eurostat
The presence of cultural institutions also has an important impact on the economy and employment.
Because these figures are drawn from different sources, often employing different definitions, it
is difficult to make direct comparisons between the cities. But all of the cities have a significant
cultural and creative sector, employing tens of thousands of people. The cultural and creative
sectors attract and generate flows of people, both as producers and consumers.
Cultural and creative employment
Source: WCCF
(*) The figure shows (subject to data availability) the
30 cities among the EU Member States with the
hightest average number of museums entries per
resident. Italy, Cyprus, Malta, the Netherlands and
United Kingdom: not available. A number of other
cities did not have any data (see database for more
details). Alternative reference years were used in
some cases (see database for more details).
In general Montréal and Barcelona stand out as having a particularly high proportion of creative
employment, whereas Lisbon seems to have a particularly low level. Even in Lisbon, however,
creative employment in the city is higher than the national average (3.3%).
Proportion of employment in the creative industries
Source: City data
2.2.2 Culture and the quality of life
Culture is also a vital part of the overall quality of life of the cities, as illustrated by data from the
2015 report on European Cities by Eurostat. The data show that residents’ overall satisfaction with
life in the European case cities is significantly positively related to both the presence of cultural
facilities such as concert halls, theatres, museums and libraries (r2=0.287) and with the quality
of public space (r2=0.296). But it is evident there are significant differences between the cities in
terms of access to culture and other aspects of quality of life. Satisfaction with cultural facilities in
Amsterdam and Copenhagen is much higher than the EU average, whereas in southern European
cities satisfaction levels are lower. There are clearly structural and cultural factors at play here,
including different levels of historical and current cultural investment.
Cultural facilities
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
There are also large variations in satisfaction with public space, but in this case Barcelona is closer
to Amsterdam and Copenhagen and just under the EU average.
% very satisfied
2.2.3 Relationship to foreigners
One indication of the openness of a city is the acceptance of foreigners. In this regard, Copenhagen
stands out as a relatively tolerant European city, with Amsterdam, Barcelona and Lisbon all being
close to the EU average of 31% strongly agreeing that foreigners are good for their city. Rome, on
the other hand, seems to reflect the more negative attitudes to migration that have surfaced in
Italian politics in recent years.
The presence of foreigners is good
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
% strongly agree
There is a tendency for migrants to gravitate to larger cities, and all of the case study cities have a
higher proportion of foreign-born residents than the EU average (7%). But attitudes to foreigners
are not directly related to the physical presence of foreign born citizens. Copenhagen has the most
positive attitude towards the presence of foreign born residents, even though 26% of the population
comes from another country. Rome has less than half this proportion of foreign residents, but
Public spaces
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
% very satisfied
the level of respondents strongly agreeing that the presence of foreigners is good for their city is
around one fifth of the level in Copenhagen. Factors that may explain these differences include
cultural influences, different political contexts, the speed of migration growth (particularly rapid
in southern European cities such as Rome, Barcelona and Lisbon), and the source of migrant
Foreign born population
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
2.2.4 Noise, safety and trust
Problems with noise tend to be greatest in city centres, which also attract the greatest concentrations
of tourists. For example, residents of the city of Lisbon are significantly less satisfied with noise
levels (45% satisfied) compared with respondents from the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (66%).
Satisfaction with noise levels in these relatively busy cities tends to be low. Only Copenhagen is
above the EU average, with Amsterdam just below average. Barcelona, Lisbon and Rome have
much lower levels of satisfaction with noise. This is perhaps not surprising, given that ‘It appears
that EU cities are noisier than before, as the noisiest areas become noisier and the quieter areas
become less quiet’ (Raimbault & Dubois, 2005, p.339).
Satisfaction with noise levels
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
% very satisfied
One of the issues raised by residents complaining about the growth of tourism is lack of
safety. Copenhagen is the city with highest levels of people reporting they feel safe in their own
neighbourhood, and Lisbon and Rome have notably lower levels.
I feel safe in my neighborhood
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
% strongly agree
To implement any policies effectively, cities need to have the support and engagement of citizens.
In recent years levels of trust in public administrations or the overall system of government has
been declining across Europe. Overall, only 15% of EU city dwellers completely agreed that their
administration can be trusted. Of the case study cities, only Copenhagen scores higher than this.
The public administration of my city can be trusted
Source: European Cities Monitor 2015
EU average
% completely agree
One of the common features of all the cities is that they attract large numbers of visitors both from
their national markets and abroad. Figures on tourism in European cities are generally available
for the number of overnight stays in registered accommodation. This does not measure the impact
of unregistered accommodation (including Airbnb for example), or of day visitors. Rome has by far
the largest number of tourist bednights (over 28 million in 2016).
Total bednights (domestic and international visitors)
All the case study cities have experienced significant tourism growth is recent years, in line with
the expansion of city tourism noted in Part 1 of the report. With the exception of Copenhagen, all
the cities grew by around twice the level of growth of global tourism in 2016 (4%).
Growth in overnights 2015-2016
Another common factor has been the sustained levels of growth in city centre tourism in recent
years. Between 2004 and 2016, overnights in Copenhagen and Lisbon more or less doubled (but
starting from a lower base than the other cities), Amsterdam and Barcelona both added more than
60%, and only Rome, with a modest 20% growth, lagged behind (although this also reflects the
historically higher levels of tourism in Rome).
% growth 2004-2016
In terms of international tourism, the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017 shows that
all the cities have increasing numbers of international tourists, with growth between 2012 and 2016
ranging from 7% in Rome to 38% in Lisbon. It is also clear that Barcelona, Amsterdam and Rome
attract much larger numbers of international tourists than Copenhagen, Lisbon and Montréal,
underlying their longer history of developing international tourism.
International tourists (millions)
International tourists 2012-2016
Source: Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017
International tourism also accounts for a significant economic impact in all of the case study cities.
Again, there is a significant difference between Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome and the other cities.
International tourism spending
Source: Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017
Billion USD
All the European cities involved in the analysis receive a large number of overnight visitors relative
to their resident population. The number of overnights per inhabitant ranges from 18 in Lisbon
and Amsterdam to 11 in Rome. Rapid growth in tourism combined with relatively low levels of
population growth in European cities means that the number of tourist overnights recorded per
inhabitant shows a sharp increase in recent years.
Overnights per inhabitant
Figure 2.19 shows tourist overnights in relation to the whole city population. When we look at the
ratio for the historic city centre, or area of greatest tourist concentration, we see a different picture.
The tourist pressure rises to over 150 overnights per historic centre inhabitant in all cities, and
in Lisbon this rises to 243 overnights per old city resident. In effect, each city-centre resident has
one tourist as a neighbour at least 40% of the time – or put another way, for 40% of the year, the
population of the old city is doubled. There is a remarkable consistency in these figures, which
derives from the tendency of tourists to visit old city centres and the relatively small resident
populations they have.
Overnights per inhabitant of city centre
Growth in tourism has produced significant economic gains, particularly for the hospitality industry.
The average revenue generated by each available hotel room (RevPAR) in Amsterdam reached 116
euros per night in 2017, slightly ahead of Barcelona and Rome. All the cities increased their hotel
revenues between 2014 and 2017, but the most dramatic growth was in Lisbon, which was only
achieving 60 euros per night in 2014, but rising demand pushed RevPAR up to 90 euros in 2017, a
growth of 50%.
Hotel revenues
Source: PWC (2017)
RevPAR (euros)
The success of the conventional hospitality industry has also spawned new forms of ‘collaborative
economy’ accommodation providers, such as Airbnb. In recent years these providers have added
to the accommodation stock of the cities by opening private accommodation to tourist use. Airbnb
listings in our case study cities have also grown, for example in Barcelona from around 12,000 in
2015 to just over 17,000 in 2018. However, recent moves by some cities to curb illegal accommodation
have already begun to have an effect, with 2000 beds being closed down in Barcelona alone. The
overall indications are that despite complaints from the conventional hotel industry, high tourism
demand means that the growth of the sharing economy has not seriously dented hotel revenues
in the case study cities.
Copenhagen 20,545 81 27
Rome 25,275 60 140
Source Inside Airbnb July 2018
The sharp increase in city tourism in recent years has had an impact in all the European cities.
Complaints from residents about the negative effects of crowding in the city centre, particularly
noise, rubbish and unruly behaviour have become commonplace. Barcelona in particular has seen
the growth of anti-tourism movements, usually based in neighbourhoods particularly affected,
such as beachside district Barceloneta.
Incidents in Barcelona have included an assault on a tourist bus, puncturing the tyres of bikes
rented by tourists, and an increasing density of anti-tourist graffiti in the city, much of it in English.
Some of the more colourful slogans include: “Tourists stay at hotels: apartments are for living in”,
“Tourist: your luxury trip, my misery” and “Why call in tourist season if we can’t shoot them?”. In
summer 2017 groups of residents from the beachfront neighbourhood of Barceloneta occupied
the beach with banners demanding the end of tourist apartments, real estate speculation and the
nuisance caused by growing tourism. One local organiser, Esther Jorquera, commented:
“The problem is speculation. Every month there are dozens of evictions of residents
living in rental apartments. It is not permissible that the owners demand 1,000 euros for
30-square-meter flats. Now it seems that we are a privileged neighbourhood because we
are in the centre and we have a beach and that is why we are forced to leave”.
As well as grass roots activism, more organised resistance has come from civil society associations,
such as the Federació d’Associacions de Veïns de Barcelona (FAVB). Growing political pressure
and the election of new Mayor Ada Colau in 2015 has changed the city’s tourism strategy, with more
emphasis on quality rather than quantity. A moratorium on new hotel developments and short-
term rentals was introduced in 2016. In 2017 the Special Tourist Accommodation Plan (PEUAT)
was introduced to regulate the growth of tourist accommodation including youth hotels, collective
residences with temporary accommodation and tourist apartments. It is hoped that this regulation
will allow for a sustainable and responsible tourism model and will reduce the pressure on the
most saturated neighbourhoods of the city.
There has also been pressure to halt changes to cultural and commercial features in the city.
These include resistance to the redevelopment of the Mercat de Sant Antoni (“no es converteixi en
una Boqueria 2”) and objections to the opening of Casa Vicens, a Gaudi building, to tourists.
There have also been a range of actions in other European cities, including Amsterdam and
Lisbon. In Amsterdam a ‘roller suitcase action’ was organised in 2015, with residents protesting
‘No way short stay’ and calling for an end to hotel expansion. A specific platform called Amsterdam
in Progress was set up by tourism expert Stephen Hodes in 2017 in order to promote a more
balanced approach to the relationship between residents, businesses and tourism. In response
the city has produced a programme called ‘The City in Balance’ that sets out an analysis of the
problems as well as potential solutions. Measures being taken in Amsterdam include restrictions
on new accommodation, tourist-orientated shops and activities such as ‘beer-bikes’.
Rome also introduced a series of measures to combat the perceived problems linked to tourism.
Stricter rules and fines have been imposed for drinking on the streets at night, or paddling in
public fountains, and coaches have been banned from the historic centre.
In Lisbon there seems to have been less direct anti-tourism activity, at least partly because tourism is
perceived as having kept the Portuguese economy afloat during the economic crisis. However, the district
of Santa Maria de Maior in Central Lisbon has become vociferous in calls for limits to tourism growth.
The platform Lisbon does not love mass tourism has identified a number of issues they would like
to see tackled, including short term rentals, cruise ships, tuk-tuk taxis and other tourist transport,
large tourist groups, tourist-dedicated facilities and tourist rudeness. Interestingly, the Lisbon
website illustrates ‘rudeness’ with a photo of naked Italian tourists taken in a shop in Barceloneta.
They argue that their discourse is not anti-tourism:
Inhabitants of Lisbon are not against tourism, they are perfectly aware of the benefits
they earn from it but they wish for their city to keep its soul, its traditions - that it doesn’t
become the new Barcelona or that the old neighbourhoods become amusement parks.
The consequences of mass tourism are not a fatality, but are linked to a lack of political
implication and the attitude of a certain type of tourist.
The platform encourages visitors to the site to print and distribute a series of stickers illustrating
the problems of tourism in Lisbon (Figure 2.22).
There have also been attempts to link civic groups in different cities together. The Federació
d’Associacions de Veïns de Barcelona (FAVB) called a demonstration on May 12th 2018 against
speculation and the growth of tourism called ‘Barcelona is not for sale’. They also attempted involve
other cities, including Madrid, Valencia, Naples and Lisbon. This is part of a wider movement
against property speculation and rising rents, which has now been linked to tourism in a number
of cities, including Lisbon and Amsterdam.
It seems that there are reactions from citizens to tourism and other related urban problems in all
of the European case study cities. However, the reactions are not exactly the same. In Barcelona
there appears to be a stronger focus on tourists, but in the other cities there are more mixed
reactions to problems related to tourism, congestion, rising prices and loss of ‘authenticity’.
This review of the case study cities shows a certain level of convergence in the position of culture
and tourism, in spite of the different contexts. All of the cities have a high level of cultural provision
and creative industries activity, which not only increases the quality of life for local citizens, but also
makes these cities more attractive to tourists. The cities have all experienced a rapid growth in
tourism, which parallels the overall increase in urban tourism worldwide. The growth of tourism
is one of many forces increasing the pressure on urban facilities, including culture. At the same
time, tourism has provided a source of income for businesses and cultural institutions that has
helped them to resist the worst effects of the global downturn and cuts in public funding.
Although there are broad parallels between the cities, there are also important differences. There is a
marked north-south divide, with cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen in general having a higher
quality of life, supported by extensive cultural provision, public space and high levels of civic trust. In
southern cities such as Lisbon and Rome, there is generally less trust in the public administration
to deal with problems, bigger problems to solve and smaller budgets to tackle them. Barcelona in
some ways takes on an intermediate position, probably because specific policies to develop culture and
higher levels of interpersonal trust (Richards, 2007a) have produced a more collective approach than
in many other cities in the south. Montréal is also in a different position to the European cities because
of the North American context. In some ways, however, Montréal reflects European issues because
of its cultural background and particular linguistic position. These factors have also stimulated levels
of public cultural investment which are relatively high compared with other Canadian and American
cities. Montréal also has a similar situation with regard to tourism as Copenhagen, with relatively
recent growth still not registering so many negative impacts in these cities. In contrast Barcelona,
Amsterdam and Lisbon are all marked by very rapid recent growth and emerging discussions over the
tourism model in the city, which include the emergence of action groups demanding new approaches.
In spite of the different contexts of the case study cities, it is clear that they all provide interesting points
of comparison with Barcelona, as well as offering different perspectives and potential pointers for the
development of the relationship between cultural policy and tourism. The central question in this report
is whether cultural policy explicitly addresses the challenges raised by tourism in cities. To investigate
the position in the case study cities further, the following sections provide a profile of each city, including
an analysis of the results of the interviews conducted with policymakers and analysts.
Geographical area: 219km2
Total population: 779.808 (Municipality) 2,349,870 (Metropolitan area)
Percentage of total national population living in the city: 14%
Education level – percentage with degree level or higher: 42%
GDP (PPP) million: €89 billion
Percentage creative industries employment: 8.3%
3.1.1. General context and background
Amsterdam is the economic and cultural capital of the Netherlands, and has long been popular
with tourists attracted both by the cityscape, the arts and culture offer and the lifestyle. The city
provides a mix of high culture attractions (with the city accounting for 40% of all museum visits in
the Netherlands) and popular culture, including the presence of coffee shops offering soft drugs.
Recent years have seen considerable growth in the number of overnight hotel stays in the city of
Amsterdam. This growth continued in 2016, with the number of hotel stays increasing by 8.4%,
and 2017 growth was even stronger at 12% (15,609,000 overnight stays). ABN AMRO reports that
this growth has increased the pressure on the city and that more tourists in hotels and Airbnb’s
slept in Amsterdam in August 2017 (790,000) than there are residents in the city. ABN AMRO also
argues restrictive measures can contribute to slowing growth, but tourism will increase in the
longer term, due to demand from new markets such as India and China. Not only international
tourists add to the pressure on Amsterdam, however. Half the visitors to the city come from the
Growing user pressure has created a debate that has already led to measures to curb the growth
of tourism-related businesses and to spread tourism to other parts of the country. In an interesting
experiment, the city’s Ombudsman also spent two months living in the Red Light District to
experience the problems of city-centre crowding for himself. He concluded that: ‘At night, the
centre of Amsterdam is a lawless urban jungle without authority’. In an average night there are
countless infringements, and the few police only deal with a part of the problem rather than
tackling the issue as a whole. The problem is not just tourists, but drug dealing, violence, theft,
etc. He estimates there are 2000 illegal taxis and 350 illegal boats plying the streets and canals
in the centre. He contrasted the situation with an organised festival, where a specific number of
security personnel have to be present to keep the crowds safe. In the city itself there are no such
norms (Ombudsman Metropool Amsterdam, 2016).
The growing number of city users has prompted the Municipality of Amsterdam to develop a programme
aimed at meeting the challenges this causes. The programme Stad in Balans (City in Balance) includes
research on the user pressure, measures to resolve the resulting problems and experiments with different
policy measures.
Between 2008 and 2014 the supply of hotel beds grew by 13,572, and more recently Airbnb has added significant
new capacity, with 6,000 new units added between April 2015 and July 2016. The number of Airbnb clients
rose from 575,000 in 2015 (8% of hotel arrivals) to 800,000 in 2017 (9.8% of hotel arrivals), showing that Airbnb
is gaining market share. According to Amsterdam Marketing much of the increased visitor pressure also
comes from domestic visitors staying overnight in the city. This growth is due to the increase in unregistered
stays with friends and family and Bed and Breakfast accommodation. It might be reasonable to assume that
this growth is also much less visible than the increase in international tourism. This seems to be confirmed
by research with residents, who perceive the crowding in the city to stem more from international tourists
(Gemeente Amsterdam, 2018a).
The growth of tourism has also been an important factor in increasing museum and attraction visits. The
number of museum and attraction visitors in Amsterdam rose from 11.9 million in 2008 to 17.1 million in
2014, a growth of over 50%. This growth is partly due to increased cultural capacity. Both the Rijksmuseum
and the Stedelijk Museum recently re-reopened after extensive renovations and extensions. Other strongly
growing attractions include the Heineken Experience, the EYE film museum, the nautical museum and the
Hermitage art museum.
One of the problems linked to tourism growth has been a ‘monoculture’ of retail activity directed towards
tourists. The number of ice cream shops grew by 460% between 2008 and 2014, cheese shops by 250%, souvenir
shops by 80% and bike hire outlets by 130%. These facilities are strongly concentrated in the city centre.
Reports of problems with litter and noise have increased, as have reports of illegal accommodation rentals.
Interestingly the ratio of Airbnb properties to complaints varies strongly, from 1 complaint to 7 Airbnb listings in
the centre, to only 1 complaint to 24 Airbnb listings in the West District of the city. This indicates that tolerance
of sharing economy accommodation varies sharply according to the composition of the host community.
Residents were also asked about their perceptions of visitor pressure on the city. For Amsterdam as a whole,
44% of residents said they thought the city was very busy, rising to 57% of those living in the city centre.
Residents in the centre not only think the city is busier, but they are also less likely to agree that this busyness
is a normal part of city life.
According to the report Living in Amsterdam (Gemeente Amsterdam 2018b) satisfaction with the neighbourhood
increased in most parts of the city between 2007 and 2015. However, in the period 2013-2015 satisfaction fell
in the Centrum-West district, where there has also been a high increased in perceived tourist pressure. Since
the first survey in 2001, satisfaction with the neighbourhood has generally increased, with the average score
rising from 6.9 (2001) to 7.5 in 2017. In the period 2013-2017 satisfaction fell in the Central district of the city,
while other areas increased or remained static.
The increase in tourist pressure is not a wholly negative phenomenon. Although 70% of residents found the
centre of the city ‘unpleasantly busy’, 61% also agreed that tourism increases the liveliness of the city, and
53% that tourism supports a varied range of facilities.
The increasing crowds lead to annoyance among Amsterdammers. The city survey in late 2017 (Gemeente
Amsterdam, 2018) showed that 60% of residents think that the municipality does not do enough to tackle
problems of overcrowding, and 13% even think that the city does nothing at all. This is also evident from the
City Survey on crowds and quality of life in Amsterdam, carried out by the city’s statistical office among 3883
residents. The crowds are a widely shared annoyance. 96 percent of Amsterdammers find the city fairly (41
percent) to very busy (55 percent). In particular, the group that experiences the city as very busy has grown,
compared to 44 percent of Amsterdammers in 2016. More residents complain about noise nuisance, traffic
chaos, pollution and obstruction of the pavement.
Despite the crowds, Amsterdammers are increasingly happy to live in Amsterdam. In 2017 the average score
for the statement ‘I am happy that I live in Amsterdam’ scored 8.1 on a 10 point scale, an increase compared
with 2016. Residents also indicate they are highly likely to stay in the city for another five to ten years (8.02).
The attractiveness of the city fell slightly, but still scored 7.6, while residents’ pride in Amsterdam scored 7.7,
slightly less than a year earlier (7.9).
3.1.2. Linkages between culture and tourism
Amsterdam is the cultural gateway to the Netherlands. The Van Gogh Museum attracted 2.3
million visitors in 2017, and the Rijksmuseum 2.2 million. A large proportion of visitors to the
major museums in Amsterdam come from abroad. Amsterdam Marketing emphasises that
culture provides much of the content for the city as a whole.
Content is key – not content for tourists, but for residents. This can then be used to
develop stories and create added value. But it also depends on knowing the audience
for culture. The role of Amsterdam Marketing has therefore been changing, more
policymaking, or placemaking. What is important is not just to develop the cultural supply,
but to embed culture in place, not just for tourists, but also for (new) residents.
Part of the ‘content’ many visitors come to enjoy includes the informal and alternative culture
of the city. But Stephen Hodes noted that the ‘avant garde’ culture, including the gay scene and
coffee shops, is losing importance relative to global brands, which include elements such as the
Hermitage Museum.
The relationship of the cultural institutions to tourism and international residents varies.
For example, the Concertgebouw Concert Hall does no international marketing, even though
the experience is very accessible for tourists. In contrast Tonneelgroep Amsterdam has
performances with English subtitles every week. This also points to the important role of culture
in attracting and retaining international residents, or ‘talent’, which is an important part of the
work of Amsterdam Marketing. POLICIES
The current Culture Plan 2017-2020 for the City of Amsterdam focuses mainly on:
Cultural education: acquainting people at a young age with art and culture
Talent development: incubators for artists and entrepreneurs, affordable workplaces.
Art in the neighbourhood: spreading both cultural institutions and people throughout the city.
The world as a playing field: maintaining the high level of cultural provision to be visible
The Plan aims to increase linkages and networking to strengthen and integrate the cultural
sector. Given the importance of culture, an additional 7.5 million euros is being invested and
new initiatives are being developed to develop cultural education and a system of neighbourhood
cultural centres (Buurthuizen).
The policy of developing more facilities and activities in the (outlying) neighbourhoods of
Amsterdam also matches the policies of Amsterdam Marketing, which also wants to generate
more visits to the neighbourhoods. This requires the right product, and therefore also cultural
development. Cultural development is a conduit for directing people to new areas, but this also
involves mobility issues. For example, the Singer Laren Museum (30 km from Amsterdam) and
Muiden Castle (17km) are interesting cultural attractions, but they are relatively difficult for
visitors to access. The city also emphasises the development of more cultural programming
in the neighbourhoods. This caters for people in the vicinity, but it is also a means of attracting
people from outside Amsterdam to augment the local audience. For example, a new Rialto
cinema with 3 screens has been opened at the Free University of Amsterdam in the south of the
city, and there are plans for another cinema in the Zuidas complex, a rapidly developing ‘edge
city’ for Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is therefore moving towards the idea of a multipolar (meerpolige) city. Instead of
concentrating cultural facilities in the city centre, the policy tries to set out an integrated cultural
vision for the city as a whole, with the City of Amsterdam as the heart of the Metropolitan Region.
The longer-term aim is to integrate arts and culture into the spatial planning process for the
region as a whole. Viewing Amsterdam as a metropolitan area is now part of both culture and
tourism policy. As a recent OECD (2017a) report notes, the city needs to increase population
density in order to accommodate an estimated 70,000 new dwellings between now and 2040.
This will mean transforming mono-functional areas into mixed use ones; enhancing regional
transportation and increase the number of links between nodes; increasing the quality of public
space through high design standards; and allocating more space to walking and biking.
The cultural policy specifically recognises the pressure of foreign visitors on a small number of
cultural institutions and locations in the city centre, and therefore calls for more spreading of
tourists to other cultural institutions, other areas of the city and the wider Metropolitan Region
of Amsterdam. The role of culture in attracting and integrating international professionals is
also underlined:
For many international professionals participation in the cultural life of Amsterdam
is a good way to make contact with local and international networks in the city and to
connect with the lifeworld of Amsterdammers. But almost half of these international
residents are not reached by the cultural sector in Amsterdam.
This group presents an important potential market for the cultural sector, which is under
pressure due to reduced public funding and sponsorship. There are also specific measures
related to culture and tourism in the Culture Plan, which pays attention to the issue of creating
a ‘City in Balance’.
Over the years tourism policy in Amsterdam has shifted from trying to attract larger numbers
of visitors towards targeting specific groups that provide a better fit with the experiences and
culture of the city. GOVERNANCE
One interesting aspect of governance in the Dutch context is that although there are elections
every four years, city Mayors are formally appointed by the King. Although an apparently
undemocratic and untransparent system, it has the virtue of providing a level of stability that is
lacking in many other places (Richards and Duif, 2018).
As the OECD (2017a) emphasises, effective metropolitan governance is critical to Amsterdam’s
success. The Municipality of Amsterdam is increasingly working with the surrounding metropolitan
region on planning, including in the fields of culture and tourism. The Amsterdam Metropolitan
Region has undertaken a number of studies, including an analysis of the feasibility of developing
major new attractions outside Amsterdam. One of the aims for the future is to spread visitors
over the region more evenly in time and space. In spite of this, their Strategic Agenda for Tourism
admits that they currently do little to promote culture in the region to visitors.
Cultural and tourism policy for the City of Amsterdam are the responsibility of the Municipality,
which consults with a wide range of local stakeholders on these issues. The City maintains an
arms-length funding system for the major institutions through the Amsterdam Arts Council
and the Amsterdam Arts Fund. Reductions in public funding for the arts and culture have over
the years placed more emphasis on cultural entrepreneurship and the need for institutions
to generate their own sources of income. This in turn has led to more consideration of the
economic and social roles of culture, and the links between culture and tourism. Amsterdam
Marketing has become a more important partner not just in terms of increasing visitors (local and
international) to the museums, but also with responsibility for the cultural agenda, increasing
cultural participation and ‘content’ in the city.
Conversations about culture between Amsterdam Marketing and the city usually revolve around
cultural participation. But there are also touchpoints concerning international cultural affairs,
the positioning of the city, strengthening the cultural sector, international connectivity and the
positioning of the neighbourhoods.
There is also involvement of the private sector in cultural and tourism policy issues. One notable
example is the ‘Night Mayor’ model for protecting nightlife, which originated in Amsterdam and
which has been copied by cities around the world.
There are also many informal groups that exert pressure on cultural and tourism policy, including
the Friends of the Amsterdam City Centre (Vrienden van de Amsterdamse Binnenstad). The
VVAB warns of the danger of turning the city centre into a theme park where tourist services
replace the residential function. The think tank Amsterdam in Progress has successfully lobbied
to re-locate the Amsterdam Cruise Terminal further away from the city centre.
The main body involved with tourism outside the Municipality is Amsterdam Marketing, an
independent organisation that works with 1100 partners in the tourism sector to market and
brand Amsterdam. They generate 70% of their own income and get 30% from the city. The main
contact point with the city is Economic Affairs, but the cooperation is now broadening to include
culture and other departments. The cultural role of Amsterdam Marketing has been increased
by taking on responsibility for the cultural agenda of the city. Amsterdam Marketing aims not
just at visitors but also at residents and businesses. For inhabitants, the main aim is building
pride in the city and cultural participation. In terms of visitors, it is not so much about attracting
more numbers, but the right type of visitor.
Amsterdam Marketing’s goal is to execute the city marketing for the Amsterdam
Metropolitan Area as an integrated activity, whereby we focus on national and
international residents, businesses, visitors and influential figures. City marketing is an
essential step in strengthening the economic position of the Amsterdam Metropolitan
Area. This not only has a positive influence on the city’s public image internationally but
also for local residents, boosting their sense of civic pride and appreciation. To achieve
this, we work together with public and private organisations, cultural institutions and
As the strategic plan 2016-2020 states: “Amsterdam Marketing aims to make a continuing
positive contribution to the (economic) growth and employment in the metropolitan region. An
attractive metropole for (international) residents, visitors and businesses. We want not only to
maintain this position, but to strengthen and develop it, with particular attention for liveability
through spreading visitors and activity in the city and the metropolitan region.”
A change in the way in which the marketing of the city is viewed has been marked by discussions
about removing the iconic ‘I Amsterdam’ signs from the city. These are very popular with tourists
as a backdrop for photos and selfies. But they have been criticised by the new left-wing city
administration as being too egotistical, and not fitting with the vision the city wants to present
of itself.
3.1.3. Measures and projects
A number of recent measures have been aimed at spreading tourism and cultural participation
and reducing problems of overcrowding in the city centre. Amsterdam is also trying to channel
the (future) social discontent related to tourism. A hotel building stop was introduced, the
maximum annual rent duration for Airbnb apartments was shortened, the so-called ‘beer
bicycles’ were banned in the busiest parts of the city, as well as the opening of ‘tourist shops’.
Amsterdam Marketing also launched the Enjoy & Respect campaign in May 2018, which
“brings home the message to Dutch and British people aged 18-34 that offensive behaviour
will not be tolerated in Amsterdam. This target group frequently visit Amsterdam at weekends
to party, drink, go on pub crawls and hold bachelor parties.” The website goes on to say “A
conscious choice has been made for a positive, creative approach and for freedom of choice.
Values that are important for the city of Amsterdam. We show the strength of Amsterdam, the
city where you can enjoy your freedom, as long as you respect the city and its residents.” The
target group will be contacted via social media as soon as they enter key areas such as the Red
Light District and reminded about the campaign. Amsterdam Marketing also provides tips on
its website about how to avoid crowds at tourist sites and in the city in general, such as visiting
museums at night or travelling by bike.
Measures to promote the spread of tourism include a differential tourism tax. The central
districts charge 6% of the nightly accommodation price, whereas outlying districts only charge
4%. Cities outside Amsterdam are also beginning to adjust their tourism policies in line with the
growing tourist pressure. For example, Zaanstad, 12 km from Amsterdam, is now considering
moves to increase accessibility from Amsterdam as well as opening a new museum in the city
centre to cater for Amsterdam’s tourist ‘overspill’. The city also hopes to attract visitors from
Amsterdam with a major Monet exhibition in 2021. To generate more funds from the expected
increase in tourism Zaanstad is also considering increasing the tourist tax to 7 euros per night.
The Balance in the City report also suggests a change in the role of Amsterdam Marketing,
currently responsible for marketing the city to residents and visitors, into a ‘knowledge institute’
for cultural promotion, congresses and spreading tourism. The reality is that Amsterdam
Marketing already does much to try and spread tourism. This also seems to be working to some
extent. The regional collaboration ‘Visit Amsterdam, See Holland’ aims to highlight interesting
regional destinations for international visitors. In 2011 the proportion of tourists visiting the
metropolitan region rose by 23% compared with 2008. More recent figures from the NBTC show
that Amsterdam’s share of international tourism has fallen slightly, from 38.3% in 2012 to 36.5%
in 2015 (NBTC 2016). However this slight shift in tourism flows is unlikely to do much to address
the user pressure in Amsterdam.
To reduce the pressure on public space at busy locations such as Museumplein, Leidseplein and
Dam Square, visitor flows to other parts of the city and to locations outside the city are being
stimulated. The Cultural Department will work together with cultural institutions and Amsterdam
Marketing to better develop the cultural offer outside the centre. The recent neighbourhood
campaign of Amsterdam Marketing pays much attention to the supply of art and culture, and
cultural attractions feature prominently in their publication Amsterdam Neighbourhood Guide.
One successful measure to promote the development of the cultural sector in Amsterdam has
been the provision of ateliers and incubator spaces (broedplaatsen) for young creative talent.
Cultural incubators are now being developed by the Municipality outside Amsterdam, where there
is more space. They have the power to use land for new development, and 2% of the development
budget is reserved for art space. The International Art Talent Programme also aims to attract
top artistic talent to the city through collaboration between Bureau Broedplaatsen (BBp) and the
Amsterdam Arts Fund (AFK). Ten international artists from different disciplines receive living
and working space for a year as well as a development budget.
A multipolar model for culture will also be developed, with an emphasis on local cultural centres.
In 2014 the Muncipality developed a focus on 22 areas Amsterdam, with the aim of increasing
liveability. The districts will develop cultural centres according to their own needs, and four
larger centres will be developed with a specific linking function. De Meervaart (Nieuw-West),
Podium Mozaïek (West), het Bijlmer Parktheater (Zuidoost) and de Tolhuistuin (Noord) provide
broad, accessible programming, aimed at local residents but also with a citywide function. The
aim is to create links between residents and supply, between neighbourhoods and the city, and
between talent and professionals.
In addition to the cultural centres, the municipality also wants to spread festivals and events,
promote the local cultural offer across the whole city, stimulate the movement of programming
from the city centre to the neighbourhoods, stimulate city-wide collaboration between venues
and companies and develop new museum activities outside the centre. One specific strategy is
to develop new, unique programmes in the periphery. In districts such as Amsterdam West there
are unique stories, such as that told by museum ‘t Schip. Amsterdam Noord is also taking on
its own identity. For example there is now investment in Noord, with the central music venue
Paradiso opening a new stage at the Tolhuis. This not just provides a new venue outside the
centre, but also links Paradiso to avant-garde culture in Amsterdam. The ‘24 Hour’ programme
has also been designed to open up the Districts for residents and visitors. A different District is
open for 24 hours for all, putting the spotlight on one district in the outskirts each time.
Work with the neighbourhoods revolves around doing things selectively – not mass marketing
but curation and packaging. The overall aim is to get more repeat visitors to go to 11 selected
neighbourhoods outside the centre. These were selected on the basis of offering content that
matches visitors’ motivations. The selection is also based on dialogue with the districts about
their needs. For example, the district Nieuw West was eventually not included in the programme.
The Director of the District said they wanted more international tourists, ostensibly to put the
district on the map. But in the final analysis what the District needed was to first be on the map
with locals. Cultural and tourism policymakers feel it is important to build content and local
relevance, which means there is a need to invest in the cultural fabric not just for residents, but
also to meet the needs of tourists.
There are 2 main marketing campaigns for the neighbourhoods:
1) A Neighbourhood campaign for domestic and international visitors
2) An international campaign ‘See Amsterdam, Visit Holland’ to highlight 33 municipalities
outside the city. Research shows that 25% of international visitors also visit the outskirts
of the city.
The average international visitor stays 3.9 nights, which is relatively long, and this provides
opportunities for persuading them to visit attractions outside Amsterdam. For example the City
Card provides an add-on for the region, including museums and public transport.
In order to address the relative lack of connection between international residents and the
cultural institutions in the city, the Expatcenter developed the programme We Are Public.
International professionals were offered a trial membership that allowed them to try the offer of
25 arts and cultural institutions in the city.
The city of Amsterdam has been involved in many other experiments related to urban development,
including specific projects related to culture and tourism. A growing number of experiments
have been funded in the context of the City in Balance programme, rising from 16 in 2015 to 34
in 2016. Besides the municipality, entrepreneurs, cultural institutions and civic organisations
have been involved in these experiments. Experiments in 2016 included restrictions on coach
parking, using local volunteers to welcome and guide visitors, new transport links and cultural
attractions. The City, Amsterdam Marketing and 10 museums also experimented with publishing
waiting times for museums on the Internet. Visitors could see how long the queues were at major
cultural sites. This museum queues pilot attracted 50,000 users in 3 months. 70% said they were
influenced by the information, and 50% changed their behaviour by visiting at a different time.
The results of this three-month pilot showed that the information was seen as highly valuable,
so work is proceeding on the development of a permanent system. The municipality considers
it one of their great tasks to make sure Amsterdam remains a liveable city for its inhabitants,
despite the growing number of visitors.
There is also increasing linkage between local, regional and national tourism policy. The national
tourist board is coordinating a national programme with support from the national government
to spread tourism. The policy focus has shifted from absolute to sustainable growth, placing
more emphasis on high yield segments such as cultural tourism and business tourism. As part
of this programme the Holland City project was developed, which presents the Netherlands as
a metropolis with short distances between major sights. Visitors are approached on the basis
of their interests (e.g. Van Gogh) or specific themes, such as Hieronymus Bosch in 2016, and
Mondriaan and Dutch Design in 2017.
The private sector is also developing new content for residents and tourists outside the centre.
For example the Volkshotel provides: A place where locals and travellers gather to eat, drink,
work, sleep and play.”
An important condition for the success of programmes designed to spread tourism is accessibility.
There have been attempts to improve public transport for tourists (direct bus to Zaanse Schaans)
and to offer attractive combi-tickets. Holland Travel Ticket is a national day ticket for train, bus,
tram and metro. The popular off-peak version costs € 39 for one day. Many regional initiatives
have also been developed, such as the Amsterdam and Region Travel Ticket (e.g. de Zaanse
Schans, Volendam en Zandvoort).
Further development of the City in Balance programme includes four strategic lines of action:
1. Making the city bigger
2. Using the city more smartly
3. Doing things differently
4. Doing things together
The team responsible for this programme is based in the local government and has a capacity
of 6-7 Full Time Equivalent staff. But citizens will also be asked to take responsibility for these
actions, in terms of small behavioural changes that can produce a more hospitable climate for
all, co-creation and citizen initiatives.
Research has also been undertaken to monitor residents’ perceptions of the effectiveness of
the programme to date. This shows that residents are generally not satisfied with the efforts of
the municipality. Half (50%) believe that the municipality does not have enough commitment to
combatting overcrowding. Residents in the Centre district in particular are negative (66%) about
the efforts of the municipality, and only 17% think that the municipality does enough to involve
citizens in the policy.
The vast majority (61%) of respondents think it is good to spread visitors and tourists more
over the whole city. Residents in the Centrum district are considerably more positive about this
proposed measure (74% agree). But people are less positive about the expected effect of the
policy. Only 22% expect that crowding in the inner city will be reduced as a result. In addition,
39% would consider spreading to be a bad policy if this leads to more visitors in their own
The panel is positive about the choice to limit the growth of the number of hotels in the city. 72%
of the panel indicates (completely) agree with the chosen course. Residents are also positive
about proposals to reduce the number of events in the city. Residents also suggested a number
of other potential solutions, including less accommodation in the city, spreading visitors to
other cities in the Netherlands, reducing marketing and attracting different types of visitors,
restrictions on tourist shops, longer opening hours for attractions and museums, and spreading
of events.
3.1.4. Vision of the city and strategies for the future
The Cultural Department of Amsterdam is now mapping trends to 2040 in order to anticipate
policy issues. One trend is towards more visitors or city users. One respondent also commented
on both cultural and tourism policy: “The problem is that both tourism and culture play the
numbers game. They want to have more visitors, even if that means more problems. They
don’t think about quality, only quantity. We need to rethink numbers in terms of the quality of
experience.” Until there is an integrated approach to managing city users as a whole, it is likely
that the growth will continue.
The fact that almost everybody is expecting more visitors in future means there is a growing
debate about spreading tourism and the effects of this. The city council has investigated the
possibilities of establishing new or existing (top) museums or subsidiaries of Amsterdam
museums on the outskirts of the city. The idea is to develop a major attraction so that the
cultural flow of visitors in the city can be partially shifted. The city districts and project agency
responsible for developing the Zuidas area have discussed potential locations and suitable
(international) partners. Museums such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Amsterdam
Museum and FOAM already have concrete plans for activities in other parts of the city.
With more people wanting to be in the city, demand for housing will rise, increasing the challenge
of dealing with the current housing shortage. The expectation is that that the city will grow to just
over one million residents in 2040. This is likely to lead to regional growth rather than just growth
in the city of Amsterdam. The OECD (2017a) notes ‘If housing demand cannot be adequately met
in Amsterdam, there is a risk that house and private rental prices will rise to such an extent that
many residents will no longer be able to afford to live there.’ These trends in turn will strengthen
the concept of Amsterdam as Metropolis, which will mean new challenges in terms of transport
and access to culture, but which will also present new opportunities for cultural institutions
seeking new audiences.
The City in Balance programme makes use of future scenarios. On the basis of projected numbers
of residents and visitors to 2025, four scenarios are presented: Global Giant, European Renewal,
International Alliances and Local for Local. In the growth-orientated Global Giant scenario
tourism in the city is forecast to grow to 23.6 million visitors, compared with only 18.1 million
under the more sustainability-orientated Local for Local scenario. The real question, however,
is how much control the city has over numbers, and how much of that control it is willing to
exercise. Amsterdam in Progress suggests that the only effective mechanism to reduce visitor
pressure is increased pricing.
3.1.5 Conclusion
Amsterdam has monitored the problem of crowding in the city centre for a long time, and has
identified multiple challenges that contribute to conflicts between different user groups. These
data are now being used to develop and monitor the City in Balance programme, which includes
a wide range of measures to encourage harmonious use of the city. But Amsterdam also has
a future-orientated view that takes in the metropolitan challenge as a whole, and is starting
to think about using the limited space of the city more intensively, more smartly and more
collaboratively to ensure liveability.
The stakeholders in Amsterdam generally view the relationship between culture and tourism as a
complex problem, covering many areas of urban policy. The Ombudsman, who spent time living in the
city centre to experience the problems for himself, has pointed out that the crowding in the city centre
is not a tourism problem, but a complex mix of generic urban issues. Although Amsterdam has a lot
of data to help it deal with these issues, it is challenging to design adequate solutions. For example,
data indicate that the ‘objective’ problems of the city centre seem less critical than the perceptions
of city centre residents. But the perceptions of residents not surprisingly tend to drive policymaking.
Amsterdam recognises the need for an integrated approach to these issues, and is monitoring
a wide range of indicators to try and guide policy and action. The City in Balance programme
includes a mix of experiments, monitoring, applications of new technologies, and new forms of
collaboration between culture and tourism. But there is also a realisation that these issues need
to be dealt with on a bigger scale. In general terms, the city envisages making itself bigger, moving
towards being a Metropolitan region in which the tourist stream can spread and become relatively
manageable. But this is also a cultural choice – will the residents and visitors in Amsterdam be
happy with the shift from the cosy city to the metropolis?
Geographical area: 86.4km2
Total population: 779.808 (Municipality) 2,349,870 (Metropolitan area)
Percentage of total national population living in the city: 14%
Education level – percentage with degree level or higher: 42%
GDP (PPP): €89 billion
Percentage creative industries employment: 8.3%
3.2.1. General context and background
In recent years Copenhagen has established itself as a ‘cool’ Scandinavian capital, with a relaxed
cosmopolitan lifestyle and international cultural institutions. Part of the growing attractiveness
of the city lies in its recent internationalisation and compolitanisation, also as a result of recent
increases in migration and tourism.
Copenhagen distinguishes itself as being “Denmark’s ‘only real metropolis’, with demographic
and economic diversity that make it unique in the Danish context….Copenhagen’s competitiveness
is dependent on a pragmatic and economically driven pro-migration policy, allied to a set of
social policy interventions that enable poorer migrants to ‘integrate’ more effectively into Danish
society.” (Raco, 2018).
Tourism has not yet grown to levels seen in the other case study cities, but it is increasing
fast. Because tourism is not on the scale seen in the other cities, it is not yet a massive issue.
Wonderful Copenhagen, the Destination Marketing and Development organisation for the city,
Our stakeholders do not perceive mass tourism as an urgent and prioritized problem,
but instead prefer continued efforts to attract more visitors. Our locals similarly welcome
the prospect of more visitors (96%), although 7% are hesitant to see more visitors during
peak season or accommodated in holiday flats (9.5%).
Copenhagen locals are also willing ambassadors, and are proud of the city and their
neighbourhoods. Almost half (46%) feel very or somewhat responsible for providing visitors with
a positive experience, while 17% feel only a limited or no responsibility. This level of support
has enabled the city to develop an innovative ‘localhood’ concept, with growing emphasis on
promoting local communities and neighbourhoods outside the city centre.
3.2.2. Linkages between culture and tourism
The city recently produced a new Culture and Leisure Policy, which specifically links culture,
leisure and tourism. The value of linking culture and leisure lies in making the city more attractive
for residents and to meet the competition from other cities. Becoming more international means
having a new focus, a new view of culture and having to use English as a means of communicating
with new residents and tourists.
The internationalisation of the city provides opportunities for cultural institutions, as new non-
Danish residents provide new markets for culture. Copenhagen already has International House,
a public-private partnership for receiving and retaining international talent, providing a one-stop
entry point to the city. At the same time, the association culture of Denmark provides integration
strategies for the new residents. By forming sports and cultural associations (such as an Indian
cricket club), newcomers can be more quickly and effectively included in local cultural and
social life. The creation of special associations does not mean segregation in the context of
Copenhagen. Institutions across the city are having to deal with new groups and new ways of
working. There is still much work needed to make all institutions more open, for example, by
providing information in English.
But the policies and actions of the city are gradually adapting to new needs. One example is that
there are now far more events in public space, providing places for people to meet. The food
market Torvehallerne “promotes diversity and allows foreigners to meet Danes” The reviews of
the food market on Tripadvisor underline this social role:
Torvehallerne: Totally trendy food market, and one of my favourite destinations in
Copenhagen. A must see for tourists. Lots of local flavour. Perfect place for Smørrebrød
and beer. Great place to connect with friends. Lots of patio seats for a warm afternoon.
Highly recommend for visitors and locals alike.
The city is also seeing the emergence of informal international groupings and ERASMUS student
communities are forming. The city is now actively communicating with different groups (such as
Romanians in Denmark) via Facebook to see what their needs and challenges are. This underlines
that social media can be useful not only for communicating with temporary communities (as
happens in Amsterdam) but also as a way of understanding their wants and needs.
Wonderful Copenhagen also tries to link groups such as business travellers to culture.
The majority of our stakeholders clearly find the attraction of conferences and meetings
most important among Wonderful Copenhagen’s existing core business areas. Only
cultural institutions see this as significantly less important, demonstrating the necessity
of breaking down and working across traditional visitor segmentation to enable cultural
institutions to gain more value from our destination’s many business travellers. POLICIES
The Culture and Leisure Policy for the period 2016-2019 starts from the premise that to maintain
the attractiveness and active cultural life of the city, culture and leisure must meet contemporary
challenges. Copenhagen sees itself as an ‘experiment-seeking and diverse city that furthermore
acknowledges its own distinctive character.’
The policy provides a vision, a set of guiding principles and a series of action areas. The vision is
for Copenhagen to be an attractive city, offering quality of life and a sense of ‘edge’. To achieve
this, it needs to offer ‘sublime cultural experiences’ as well as underground culture. The vision
positions citizens as an asset in the development of the city, whose needs must be reflected in
the framework the city offers. “Copenhagen must also retain its big-city buzz and remain a place
that offers a diverse palette of culture and leisure facilities. This is how Denmark reaches out to
the rest of Scandinavia, Europe and the world.”
The guiding principles for the policy are:
1. Inherent value of culture
2. Democracy
3. Quality
4. Freedom of expression
5. Decentralisation
6. Inclusiveness and equal access
There is also specific attention for visitors in the policy:
The ambition is that tourists not only visit Copenhagen due to its shopping opportunities
or classic tourist attractions; they should also experience the more rough-edged and
vibrant aspect of Copenhagen’s city life. Copenhagen is to convey to tourists its classic
attractions as well as its more offbeat culture. The diversity of the city is to become more
visible to the world. This means that the city’s culture and leisure institutions should to a
greater extent contribute to the development of new tourism offerings.
Leisure associations, clubs and societies and public education are seen as a driving force in
the development of new culture and leisure offerings and opportunities. There is also ‘a special
obligation to embrace new and emerging initiatives and ensure that they enjoy the freedom of
artistic expression to offer citizens new, creative cultural experiences and furthermore to ensure
that the cultural “food chain” is maintained.’
The policy therefore encompasses a number of emerging perspectives on culture and tourism,
ways of seeing and using culture as a gateway to the city and Danish society, as the ‘humus’ in
which new relationships and innovation can thrive, as a source of well-being and distinction.
Culture and leisure activities are viewed as transversal policy areas that thrive on cooperation
with other municipal departments and initiatives, such as ‘Enjoy life, Copenhagener’ and
‘Community Copenhagen’.
Wonderful Copenhagen is the destination development and marketing organisation responsible
for tourism strategy. In their recent strategic re-visioning, they launched the idea of the ‘end of
tourism’ as we know it, to be replaced by the concept of localhood, positioning Copenhagen as:
A future destination where human relations are the focal point, where the differentiation
between destination and home of locals is one and the same. A destination, where locals
and visitors not only co-exist, but interact around shared experiences of localhood. … In
short, our vision is… LOCALHOOD FOR EVERYONE. We bid farewell to an era of tourism
as an isolated industry bubble of culture and leisure experts. We need to see the Airbus
380 with 615 passengers as a large group of individuals or microsegments, each with his
or her own motivations, culture and way of relating to others.
The Copenhagen strategy is also based on storytelling, with five “strategic core stories” for the
city based on the themes of Design and architecture, Gastronomy, Sustainability, A pocket-sized
fairy tale and Tolerance and diversity. The storyline of the new strategy fits closely to the cultural
vision of the city, and has also generated considerable attention as a new way of presenting and
marketing the city. One aim is to avoid seeing tourism as a separate silo, or industry.
But the role of Wonderful Copenhagen in terms of culture is also changing. Historically, there
has been a difficult relationship between tourism and culture. Culture was taken for granted as a
resource, and people thought there was a natural relationship between tourism and culture. There
were a lot of joint projects, but no real common sense of purpose. So Wonderful Copenhagen
began to think more deeply about cultural tourism – not all tourists are interested in culture,
and not all tourists are cultural tourists. The cultural institutions were strong in their own fields
and proud of what they do. This meant they saw tourists as a threat, a sign of Disneyfication.
This produced a natural clash between culture and tourism. Wonderful Copenhagen started new
projects designed to change the relationship between tourism and culture – such as developing
a Tourism + Culture Lab, and running experiments.
A number of recent policy initiatives are also related to the perceived side effects of tourism
1) Degrowth – Restrictions on new development.
2) Taxation – Local taxes on sharing economy rentals, entry fees for public areas.
3) Localhoods – Branding neighbourhoods and thematic routes beyond the downtown.
4) Dispersion by ‘nudging’ – Incentives to tourists and tour operators to visit off season. GOVERNANCE
The main bodies responsible for the governance of culture and tourism are the City of Copenhagen,
the Capital Region of Copenhagen and Wonderful Copenhagen. The policy of the Capital Region
is a policy for business and growth for the period 2015-2020. This includes a strong element
of internationalisation, with a strong role for International House as a hub for ‘international
citizens’. Services offered include help to find jobs and job match, introduction to cultural- and
leisure offers, events and help to the establishment of social and professional networks for
students, employees and accompanying spouses. In terms of tourism the target is a 5% yearly
growth in the number of tourists in Copenhagen:
The Capital Region of Denmark, in co-operation with tourism industry players, will
develop a tourist destination featuring products of high quality, excellent service and
accessibility to experiences by: — Attracting more tourists by developing new tourist
products and hosting more conferences.
However, the regional policy only talks about culture in terms of major cultural events.
One of the most significant recent shifts in governance and policy orientation came about as a
result of a spectacular failure of growth-orientated branding strategies. Wonderful Copenhagen
until recently pursued a policy of marketing the city to generate growth, including staging
major events. One such event, the Eurovision Song Contest of 2014, was expected to generate
considerable tourism gains as well as media coverage, but ended up being the start of a new
strategic direction for tourism. The Eurovision organisers from Copenhagen spent a total of
112 million Danish kroner (15 million euro) on the contest; three times more than what was
expected. This was largely because the host broadcaster, after considering several bids from
cities and venues across Denmark (Copenhagen, Herning, Horsens, and Fredericia), chose the
B&W Hallerne (a former shipyard) in Copenhagen as the host venue. This cost 91 million kroner
to refurbish, more than four times the forecast budget. The Song Contest left a deficit of 58
million kroner (over 7 million euro). The loss had to be covered by Copenhagen Council, the
Capital Region (Region Hovedstaden), Wonderful Copenhagen and the property company that
owned the site.
The Director of Wonderful Copenhagen was replaced by an appointee from the Ministry of
Planning, who brought in budget discipline. This resulted in a reorganisation of Wonderful
Copenhagen and a ‘beheading’ of the organisation. Wonderful Copenhagen re-structured their
policy around the concept of “localhood”, where the traveller is seen as a temporary local. The
new localhood strategy was introduced in 2017 with the striking title “The end of tourism as we
know it”. This replaced the previous strategy based on growth and hotel development.
There is broad local support for the new approach: the majority of ideas proposed by locals,
as part of an open strategy process, concern the delivery of a positive experience of localhood
specifically – gaining more access to local recommendations or easier access to experiencing
local lifestyle.
3.2.3. Measures and projects
Localhoods have been established on the tourist map of Copenhagen, although it is too early
to tell if this strategy has had a real effect in generating new tourism flows. But Wonderful
Copenhagen argues that people in the city are still proud that tourists come to see how they live,
or that people want to live like them. A number of local guides are also offering ways to get off
the tourist ‘beaten track’ through alternative tours. But there are already some signs that tourist
pressure is having an effect. There are now ‘quiet zones’ in residential areas where tourist guides
and groups are requested to keep their noise down. The idea is that tourists should blend in with
the Danish way of life, not the other way around.
Tourism + Culture Lab is a development project that aims to increase the attractiveness of Greater
Copenhagen as a cultural destination and to attract new, culturally motivated international guests. The
Tourism + Culture Lab is designed to examine the relationship between culture and tourism to improve
the nature of the cultural experience and increase cultural consumption by tourists. The project is run by
Wonderful Copenhagen and co-financed by the Capital Region. It has four tracks:
Competence: courses and workshops that address the most important challenges in internationalization
Innovation: experiments are testing new initiatives at an individual cultural institution or event
Inspiration: through developing best practice cases from Denmark and abroad
Knowledge: Knowledge sharing between the tourism and culture sectors
Members of the project include many cultural institutions in Copenhagen and the wider region. The already
shows encouraging results. In 2015 and 2016, Nikolaj Kunsthal had on average about 50,000 visitors, and
according to the national user survey from 2014, 36 percent are foreign visitors. However, in the spring of
2017 the art gallery experienced a significant increase in the proportion of foreign visitors (estimated at 60-
70 percent). The Cisterns have experienced increased success after re-positioning themselves from being
the Museum of Glass Art to an art space hosting internationally renowned artists who either play along with
or counteract the context of the space.
Wonderful Copenhagen has supported the cultural institutions in benefitting from tourism. The
main issues are how to create visibility, and grow revenue from international tourists (domestic
tourism is not an issue for Copenhagen, because the market is relatively small). There is an
increasing focus on locals, but not as a specific market segment.
Marketing is also shifting towards cultural attractions and experiences in the Greater Copenhagen
Area, and linking the different sites together. The City Card links cultural institutions with free
admission to 86 attractions, and free transport in the Copenhagen region. The prime message
is - see more. pay less. Each adult card can include two children under the age of 10 for free. A
card for 72 hours costs 93 euros. The City Card also provides data, which can also be generated
through an app. The partners can find out how people are using and experiencing the city, and
this feeds into potential Artificial Intelligence solutions.
3.2.4. Vision of the City and Strategies for the Future
The vision in the Culture and Leisure Strategy already gives some strong pointers towards the
future development of the relationship between culture and tourism. In essence, there is no
difference between the different groups of city users, rather the culture and liveability of the city
needs to be developed for the benefit of all.
This requires taking a new approach to developing and marketing the city. One of the major
challenges will be linking the City of Copenhagen with Greater Copenhagen, which will also mean
thinking about the identity of the city and the region. In developing the new identify and image of
metropolitan Copenhagen, interviewees felt it was important to start from the needs of the city
itself, rather than worrying about what visitors want. The new metropolitan dimension, just as in
Amsterdam, provides new opportunities as well. For example, promoting Greater Copenhagen
provides opportunities to link with places outside the city, and to deal with pressures on the
centre of the city, such as housing. Some international visitors want to live outside the city, so
there is room to steer them.
The respondents in Copenhagen also see a future with more tourists, and they see culture as
one means of dealing with growing tourist pressure. Cultural experiences tie together the local
communities and make them more resilient. They also link residents and tourists together
through the stories that are told about the city. Bringing different groups in the city together
also provides new opportunities. Previous marketing strategies have tended to target ex-pats
and the creative class, but now there is a general discussion about how to integrate migrant
communities. The ambition to spread tourism to the localhoods is a challenge, because in some
areas there is ‘nothing to see’ (a lack of content), and therefore there is a need to create a
personality for each neighbourhood (as Amsterdam has done). Buzzing and diverse Nørrebro
could become the Harlem or Brooklyn of Copenhagen, but what will other neighbourhoods do?
In the final analysis, the key question is: What would Copenhagen look like in 20-30 years without
tourists? The consensus seems to be that it would be a poorer place to live, economically,
culturally and socially. The value of the tourist is therefore to increase the liveability of the city.
But it should not reach the ‘tipping point’ where tourism begins to negatively impact on liveability.
The city wants tourism to grow, but not at any cost.
As the Localhood strategy states: We succeed when
Locals recognize the value of our visitors! When locals actively advocate for the
value added by visitors to our urban diversity, cultural consumption and pride
in our hometown.
3.2.5. Conclusions
The relatively recent growth of tourism in Copenhagen means that the issues surrounding
mobility are still relatively small compared with the other European cities studied. Copenhagen
prides itself on being an open, tolerant city, even in opposition to national policies. The relatively
small scale of the city is a positive characteristic that has been used in positioning and marketing
the city, although there are now moves to create more links with the wider metropolitan region.
The positioning as a ‘pocket-sized capital´ has been strengthened by the failure of previous
marketing policies based on large scale events. This has stimulated the development of new
policies positioning the ‘localhoods’ of Copenhagen as interesting new places to visit. The
challenge in future, however, will be making sure that the content to engage visitors is also in
place there.
Geographical area: 84km2
City population: 509, 312
Metropolitan population: 2,807,165
International students 2015: 15,581
GDP: €64 billion
3.3.1. General context and background
Lisbon is the culturally vibrant capital of Portugal, where tradition and modernity meet. The
centre of Lisbon has several historical neighbourhoods where built heritage is as important as
the intangible heritage related to tradition, popular culture and local lifestyles. As in many other
cities, Lisbon has seen a lot of change in terms of urban, geographical and cultural development.
But the pace of change in Lisbon has perhaps been even more dramatic than in most other cities.
Severely hit by the economic recession in 2008, Portugal developed different strategies to try
to overcome the crisis. Measures were put in place to attract foreign investment and the role
of the tourism industry as a leading sector of the Portuguese economy was reinforced. Lisbon,
as the capital city, is highly accessible, and the crisis increased the perception that it is a cheap
destination. Lisbon has only begun to internationalise and receive mass tourism relatively
recently, and therefore also retains lot of its ‘authentic’ character. Besides holiday tourists,
Lisbon has also become popular among Erasmus students, artists, digital nomads and creative
population in general.
Although the Lisbon Metropolitan area has 2.8 million inhabitants, accounting for nearly a third
of the population living in Continental Portugal, the city of Lisbon itself has a population of only
530,000. In Lisbon’s historic centre, there are just over 50.000 people in a very small area. With
a total of 9,717,718 overnights in 2016 there is a high ratio of tourist overnights to residents (18
overnights per resident). The rapid increase in tourism and inward investment is transforming
the urban landscape.
The popularity of the city, and the influx of foreign capital encouraged by government policy has
exacerbated the housing problem. Liberalisation of rental laws has also stimulated gentrification
and led to evictions and the disappearance of centuries-old cultural businesses in the centre.
One interviewee commented:
In the crisis years, Lisbon took a position on the arts. Civic support allowed many artists
to survive, and there was an explosion of creativity. Now they can’t live here anymore. This
is not just an effect of tourism, but many see it as such. Evictions are a big issue.
However, people in Lisbon are open and in general have a positive attitude to tourism, which is
also explained because a large part of the population earns their income directly or indirectly
from the tourism industry. Rather than an “either…or” attitude towards the tourists and residents
debate, the general feeling is that solutions that integrate both can be reached.
The challenge is how to manage this highly complex situation; keeping what is particular and
unique to the city, and at the same time, becoming a modern metropolis, capable of attracting
foreign investment and talent. The new cultural strategy published in 2017 provides a very
thorough analysis of the challenges, and poses the question as to what extent can culture – in
its different expressions and forms – be put to use and contribute to development and social
cohesion, ensuring a healthy cultural life for the city?
The challenges of rethinking culture include (Municipality of Lisbon, 2017):
(i) working with the overload and massification of some areas, in particular in the historical center of the city;
(ii) dealing with the consequences of the economic and financial crisis and the worsening problems of
(iii) facing the challenges of technological and organizational change in cultural activities;
(iv) dealing with the dynamics of recomposition of the metropolis that Lisbon polarizes;
(v) managing and mobilizing the new dynamics of participation in the city;
(vi) dealing with the development of new forms of cultural mediation;
(vii) articulating with the development of the creative economy; and
(viii) dealing with changes in the governance of the city.
3.3.2. Linkages between culture and tourism
In the Vision 2027 for Lisbon, the city is positioned as an Open Capital:
a central and cosmopolitan city with an international vocation; city lived daily and
experienced by all, city of transits and crossings, between cultures, between spaces
between times; city of memories and contemporaneity; which promotes the conditions for
cultural expression and for the development of creativity, and modernizing and adapting
functioning of its institutions to assume its place in the contemporary world.
Growing flows of people in the city are a direct consequence of this openness to the world, which
has also helped to make the city particularly attractive to tourists. The Lisbon Cultural Strategy
(2017) specifically mentions the ‘explosion of city tourism and city use’ as a major challenge.
One of the reasons given for the growth in tourism is “the so-called tourism of ‘Emotional
consumption’: human scales, neighbourhoods, sympathy and autochthonous tolerance,
Mediterranean culture, bohemia, the sun and the beaches, gastronomy.”
However, the speed of development has been very abrupt, with growing pressures on urban
life, and one of the highest ratios of tourists to residents in Europe. The strong flows of tourists
and new non-permanent city users, as well as the influx of new population groups (Erasmus
students and the like; foreign communities, skilled young adults from the peripheries in search
of a more urban, cosmopolitan experience, artists, etc.) has indelibly marked many parts of the
city over the years.
In particular the mix of influxes of new residents, tourists and investors has pushed housing prices
inexorably upwards. António Machado, president of the Rental Association in Lisbon, commented:
We have seen a transformation of housing from residences for families to short-term
rentals…private houses rented out for tourism that, in some areas, caused rent price
to rise by 30-40 % over the last few years, which is practically unbearable for local
Portuguese people. (Mancini and Gomes, 2017)
In 2016 the average rent in Lisbon was €830, an increase of 23% in comparison to 2015. As the
average gross salary is €914, locals are progressively pushed out to the suburbs as housing in
the city centre becomes unaffordable. Not surprisingly, many artists can also no longer afford to
live in the city. However increased tourism has also directly affected the cultural sector in terms
of attracting new artists from elsewhere, and in broadening the market for culture in the city.
The growing mobility in the city supports the intensification of cultural and recreational
practices outdoors, motivated by the search for spaces of live music, live acts or dj sets. The
internationalization of Lisbon is not only generated by the success of Portuguese artists in
international circuits, but also the growing attractiveness of the city with international artists,
who can also contribute to visibility at international level.
The cultural policy also pays attention to nightlife, often a contentious area in cities. The presence
of a vibrant nightlife scene is one factor helping to make the city more popular with tourists as
well as many domestic consumers. The aims in relation to nightlife include:
support for the production of nocturnal cultural events (distinguishing cultural
spaces from those who only dedicate themselves the sale of alcohol);
implementation of compensatory mechanisms for negative externalities associated
with nocturnal animation (noise and urban hygiene, for example);
promotion of greater and better dissemination of cultural events across the city.
There has also be a major growth in events and festivals, which stems both from a desire to
reach a wider public through cultural democratization and the animation of localities in the
summer season. These measure are mainly aimed at residents, but can also attract tourism.
There have been concerns about the proliferation of events and festivals in the city and the
tendency towards oversupply and festivalisation. These trends are causing the city to think about
strategies for events, including timing, location and decentralisation. The proliferation of events
also produces a potential divide between more local, community-based events and a more
globalised commercial offer, which is also the product usually promoted to tourists. The cultural
strategy warns against the dangers of ‘artificialization’, or the ‘emptying of the identities’ of the
city of Lisbon. Commercialisation can lead to a lack of community participation and a loss of
But the growth of tourism has various effects in the neighbourhoods of the city. In the centre, for
example, research by Castela (2018) with locals identifies some advantages of tourist presence:
“The neighbourhood is more beautiful because they have done many works. Now
you’re safe. A few years ago, it was all dark and there was no security in the streets”
Raquel, 33 years.
“I talk a lot to them, in the middle of the street or when I’m at the window, by
gestures, of course. We take pictures, laugh and joke. They keep me company. I no
longer have neighbours to talk to”
, Miquelina, 79 years.
“I like it when those big groups come. I show them the way we live. It’s my
neighbourhood and I’m proud of it”
, Anabela, 50 years.
But there are others who also see problems:
“There should be more control. There are garbage bags everywhere. Most of the time
it is people who live here and clean tourists houses who do not respect the schedule
to put away the garbage. Tourists do what they see others doing”
, Carlos, 58 years.
“We have to set limits. We have to stop and think. We must create rules. Tourism
urgently needs rules. If not, any day the neighbourhood is just tourists”
, Carla, 39
This shows that there are positive and negative aspects of tourism growth for the residents of
the centre of Lisbon, but it clearly indicates that there is potential for developing constructive
contacts between residents and visitors. POLICIES
The municipal cultural offer is based on a series of venues, facilities and events managed by the
city. The new cultural strategy (Municipality of Lisbon, 2017) for the city includes five strategic axes:
Promotion of the experience of cultural enjoyment
Promotion of cultural expression
Appreciation and reinforcement of the image and the collective memory of the city
Regulation of induced external effects of cultural activities in the city
Mobilizing the cosmopolitan potential of the metropolitan territory of Lisbon
In particular the reinforcement of the collective memory of the city emphasised as a means of
“rooting and defending the right to the city for residents, transitory residents and tourists.” The
cultural strategy is particularly holistic and integrative, as emphasised by its attention to issues
related to tourism in the context of culture.
These include a number of specific objectives, such as ameliorating the effects of tourism,
which will be pursued through: Decentralising the cultural offer from the historic centre to the
periphery; Regulation and taxation to achieve a balance between residents and visitors and;
Measures to avoid monofunctional uses of urban space.
There is also attention paid to the externalities of cultural activities, which will be tackled by:
Compensatory mechanisms for externalities caused by cultural activities (eg
disturbance, noise, mobility and parking problems resulting from cultural events in
public spaces)
Channelling of part of the budget from the tourist tax to culture
Promoting the internalisation of costs associated with large events (e.g. cleaning)
There is also mention of the need to avoid “dichotomies and simplified ideas about the phenomena
of transformation and revitalization (e.g. tourism and gentrification debates)”.
EGEAC (Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural) is a company established by
the City to run many of its cultural spaces. In recent years, the income generated by EGEAC has
grown dramatically, largely as a result of the entry charge levied on the São Jorge Castle. Most
of the visitors are tourists, and the income they generate is used by EGEAC to subsidise its other
activities, most of which are directed at residents.
EGEAC was one of the few organisations interviewed in the current study that mentioned having
specific target groups. Although they provide culture for all, specific target groups include:
Senior citizens (who have different needs, such as wanting information on paper, and
who have the potential to fulfil a teaching role)
Younger generation (encouraging participation with cool programming)
Accessibility (e.g. commuters – a non-obvious group – but also a mobile population)
There is a general feeling that there are sufficient cultural venues in the centre of the city,
including theatres, cinemas, museums, libraries, and exhibition spaces. So the emphasis lies
on developing facilities for local communities (for example using libraries) and in particular
spreading culture to the outskirts of the city. In doing so, links with the metropolitan area and
with mobile populations is important. Because the city itself is relatively small, it lacks the
critical needed to support a wide cultural offer. Therefore, tourism is also seen as a means of
supporting a more diverse range of facilities and activities. GOVERNANCE
The traditional cultural institutions (municipal museums, monuments and theatres) are run by
the cultural department of the city. But a number of cultural spaces and activities are run by
EGEAC, which is a public company (SA). The city gives a grant to EGEAC which is around 30-40%
of their operating budget. EGEAG takes care of the programming and runs the venues. This is
unusual in Portugal, because normally cultural venues get 80% subsidy or more. According to
the law, for such an arm’s length construction the grant given by the public sector cannot be
more than 50% of the budget. EGEAC can is also able to attract sponsorship and earn income to
make up the rest of the budget. The income generated by EGEAC rose from €9.8 million in 2013
to 15.7 million in 2016.
Lisbon Tourism is also active in adding cultural experiences to the city. In 2012 it opened the
Lisbon Story Centre: “an innovative space dedicated to the history of the Portuguese capital
that “transports visitors on a fascinating journey through time”. It is designed to appeal to
international and domestic tourists as well as locals. Lisbon Tourism says it wants to reach
people – tourists are not the only target. But tourists are also looking for something genuine.
The governance of culture in Lisbon is now becoming more complicated because there are now
24 districts with new powers, who are just finding their feet in terms of organising events and
running facilities. The districts often lack trained staff or expertise, although they do have better
knowledge of the neighbourhood. The new structure creates more issues of coordination, as
well as potentially differing opinions on how to do things. For example the central district of
Santa Maria do Maior has taken an almost anti-tourist stance.
In the past there were no formal links between culture and tourism. Now EGEAC is represented
on the Board of Lisbon Tourism, so there is closer contact. But there are also differences. Tourism
Lisbon remarked that although the cultural sector is struggling (for money, for audiences), it is
difficult to get a response. The organisation of culture is seen as a problem, because the tourism
sector wants more information on the available cultural content.
3.3.3. Measures and projects
A fund has been created to use the revenues generated by the tourism tax to improve the
experience of tourists and quality of life of the people of Lisbon. Measures underway include
improvements to the Ajuda National Palace and the Jewish Museum of Lisbon, an exhibition of
the Crown Jewels, as well as the
Lojas Com História
(Shops with History) programme.
The Lojas Com História policy was launched in response to numerous closures of specialist stores
and old local businesses in February 2015. It seeks to preserve and conserve establishments
with cultural heritage or particular significance, by giving rent protection for 5-10 years (and this
principle has also been extended to cultural associations). By July 2016, 64 businesses, from
restaurants to pastry shops, had received the label, and 19 additional shops were recognized in
March 2017. In this way, the city of Lisbon can protect, help, and enhance traditional businesses
and protect them from real estate speculation. This was seen by João Seixas (a Professor of
Geography at the New University of Lisbon and founder of the Devagar bookshop) as a way of
avoiding the museumification of the city centre. Other measures to try and support the identity
of the city include a programme to re-animate the tradition of making thrones for Saint Anthony
(who now has his own museum in a former church, generating 600,000 visits a year) and the
revival of popular marches.
The city is working on the Roman theatre, and there are plans to build a digital itinerary of
Roman Lisbon. The Fado Museum was opened in 2011 (providing a link with the World Heritage
status for Fado). At the Monument to the Discoveries (where 92% of the visitors are tourists) the
Municipality funded a basement exhibition on themes like racism and slavery, which also attract
local audiences.
The city and EGEAC give support to many festivals that also attract tourists. EGEAC runs Lisboa
na Rua, a major festival that moves around the different neighbourhoods outside the centre,
including areas with migrants. The festival is for residents, but also new residents and visitors.
There is information provided on the programming on the website in English. This leads people
to events outside the city centre in “a program that is outdoor, free and suitable for all. We
will keep on searching new places where you can enjoy cultural activities, other than the city
centre.” For example an opera performance was staged in the suburb of Olivais in 2017, where
the Gulbenkian Choir performed Carmina Burana in a field. The expected audience was 5,000,
but 17,000 people (including many local residents) turned up.
EGEAC is also proud of the Sardines Contest, which was created in 2011. This gives local
residents the chance to make their own sardine design, and there are around 5,000 entries for
the contest each year. The event became a way of appropriating the sardine as a symbol for the
city, and also as a souvenir for tourists. In 2019 the theme will be Save the Sardine (because the
government is banning sardine fishing as a sustainability measure).
EGEAC is working on an integrated ticketing system, which they hope will help tourists to
encounter new cultural experiences in other parts of the city. This is also supported by the
development of new maps. Ideas are already emerging of trying to spread tourism. As Tourism
Lisbon noted: “Outside the city centre we are working to spread tourism to relieve pressure and
bring tourists to new areas. But it takes a lot of time. There is no perfect solution, the situation
needs to be managed. It is a general urban problem.”
In order to tackle the housing crisis for artists, the city has developed 50 artists’ studios. Artists
get financial and non-financial support (spaces, logistics, promotion) from the Municipality to
help them continue working in the city.
The entry fees imposed at São Jorge Castle have generated revenues, but action has also been
taken to avoid feelings of ill-will among residents. Entry to the Castle is free for locals, so they
don’t feel excluded. EGEAC is also using locals as castle guides and programming in the castle
is available in Portuguese for locals.
The activities taken in terms of protecting the identity of the city have to be balanced against
attempts to establish Lisbon as “a cosmopolitan city, a contemporary city, a creative city and
an inter-cultural city”. A fine balance is needed to encourage a contemporary cosmopolitanism
which does not come at the expense of long-standing local needs.
So the city has concentrated on developing cultural spaces (such as the Carpintarias de São
Lázaro or Gaivotas), and the revitalisation of the city’s library network, the Museum of “Aljube”
and the redevelopment of the Lisbon Museum. There are also new cultural spaces emerging in
the city, such as the MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Belém. This iconic
building has attracted significant visitor flows to a peripheral area of the city, and 25% of visitors
are international tourists. Such actions also help to support the cultural lives of local citizens,
and culture is continually used to promote participatory and conscientious citizenship to give
people an active role in shaping wider urban policy and the future of Lisbon more generally.
Becoming cosmopolitan also means more international engagement, such as the city’s
involvement in the programme of Pilot cities led by UCLG’s Agenda 21 for culture.
3.3.4. Vision of the City and Strategies for the Future
The rapid increase in international investment and tourism has created a need for mechanisms
to deal with the increased use of the city. At the moment there is a great concentration of culture
and tourist flows in the confined area of the city centre. There is a need to create new focal points
for culture and tourism in the city and to spread activities and events across the metropolitan
Dealing with the metropolitan scale of the city also raises issues of sustainability. There is a
need to make local cultural production sustainable, but this requires projects that are adapted to
the expanding scale of the city. In the future, for example, this will mean paying more attention
to the needs of youth and schools.
Lisbon is also becoming more cosmopolitan. There is a growing number of tourists and also
ERASMUS students in the city. This is opening up the cultural system to new influences and
supporting innovation, but at the same time commodification of culture is threatening local
identities. There is a desire to conserve the culture and identity of the city, and this is reflected
in programmes such as Lojas Com História. But in the future attention will have to be paid
to contemporary cultural production as well. Lisbon used to be cool and attractive to artists
because it was cheap. But now rising prices mean that artists can no longer afford to live in the
centre, and the cost of mounting festivals has doubled.
The new cultural policy calls for a cultural planning approach for the city, and there is a need for
continuity in policies and practices. In the future the city wants to establish a cultural observatory
that can measure and monitor the progress of the cultural planning process.
3.3.5. Conclusions
The tourism issue is in some ways more acute in Lisbon than in the other case study cities
because of temporal and spatial factors. The speed of development in recent years has been
much more rapid than in the other cities, and the level of concentration of development in the
city centre is much more intense. The ratio of tourists to residents of the historic city centre, for
example, is the highest of all the case study cities.
In spite of this, most residents are still positive about tourism, as an economic lifeline, or as
animation for the city centre. It could also be that anti-tourist feelings have not had as much
time to mature as in other cities. But the recent economic crisis also played a strong role.
Tourism essentially saved the economy, and people still remember that.
A few years ago most of the buildings in the historic centre were in need of renovation. Increased
investment has helped to upgrade the urban fabric, but that has also stimulated an increase
in housing prices. The international marketing of the city to investors and tourists has been
very successful, but is now beginning to reveal negative externalities. As João Seixas remarked:
“Lisbon was not prepared for success. We planned well for generating tourism, but not for
dealing with the consequences.”
There is currently a divided cultural supply for tourists and residents. Tourists can access mass
commercial (globalized) culture, residents need local stories. These stories are also important
for the identity and authenticity of the city. The supply of culture is also divided between the
centre and the periphery. Spreading more culture to the outskirts of Lisbon is perceived as
being more important than spreading tourism, because the assumption is that where culture is,
tourists will also follow.
Geographical area: 624 km2
City population: 1,741,000
Metropolitan population: 4,027,000
Total national population living in the city: 5.6%
Education level - with degree level or higher: 35.17%
GDP (PPP): €76 billion
Creative industries employment: 13.4%
3.4.1. General context and background
Montréal stands out from other great North American cities for its built, landscape, natural
and intangible heritage, which have been integrated to meet its development needs. Montréal
has positioned itself as a leader among the world’s great cities with regard to the issue of living
together, which is also reflected in the city’s cultural policy.
Montréal is recognized as a global hub of the cultural and creative industries of video gaming,
digital arts, augmented and immersive virtual reality, computer-generated special effects, and
technical production and post-production services for film and television. In the 2007-2017
Action Plan for culture the city sought to position itself as a Cultural Metropolis.
Montréal is the fourth-largest Francophone city in the world, but it also houses Québec’s largest
English-speaking population (13.2%), and sizeable immigrant communities from non-French
speaking countries (33% of all residents are foreign-born). While Montréal’s French heritage
gives it a distinctive character, developing a coherent response to social and cultural issues can
be a fraught process when cultural identity is also bound up with language.
In response to these challenges, the city aims to become a ‘cultural mediator,’ focusing upon
widening and democratising access to culture. In contrast to many other world cities, it is
increasing funding for the arts: its grant to Conseil des Arts de Montréal, the city’s independent
arts council, has increased by 5% every year since 2009.
3.4.2. Linkages between culture and tourism
Montréal has long sought to position itself through culture and tourism (Kadri and Khomsi,
2017). Over the years the focus of marketing has shifted from the historic city centre to the
broader role of Montréal as a cultural metropolis. This shift began with the 1967 EXPO, which
helped to put the city on the global map and attracted over 50 million visits.
In spite of the broad concept of the cultural metropolis, just as in other cities, most tourists
still visit the centre of the city, with Vieux-Montréal attracting 84% of visitors and Centre-ville
de Montréal 83% (Tourisme Montréal, 2016). The principle strengths of Montréal include the
cityscape and atmosphere, a wide range of activities, events and festivals and the bilingual
nature of the city. There is a high level of satisfaction with the cultural offer, such as events (96%
satisfaction rate among visitors), arts and culture (97%). There is also a strong link between
tourism and cultural employment, with 25% of cultural jobs directly linked to tourism.
Tourisme Montréal’s 2015 report showed that festivals attracted 7,5 million visits, cultural
attractions 9 million visits, scenic arts over 3 million visits and museums 7 million visits. In
2012, almost 26% of tourists participated in at least one cultural activity. Culture also sites play
a major role in the decision to visit the city (Table 2.2).
This underlines the important role of culture in attracting tourism, a fact that is reflected in the
development of a specific cultural tourism policy. POLICIES
In 2007 the City of Montréal came together with Culture Montréal (an independent organisation
acting as the Regional Cultural Council), the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal, and
the government of Québec and Canada to create a comprehensive Action Plan for cultural
development over the next decade.
The Action Plan included significant investment in Montréal’s major cultural district, the Quartier
des Spectacles. This square kilometre is home to over 80 cultural venues with 28,000 seats in 30
performance spaces, 450 cultural organisations and 7000 jobs related to culture. It includes the
Place des Arts – Canada’s leading cultural complex with six different concert and theatre halls –
and the Place des Festivals, a key public space to host the city’s major festivals.
The cultural policy for the period 2017-2022 is Montréal, Cultural Metropolis, subtitled Combining
Creativity And The Citizen Cultural Experience In The Age Of Digital Technology And Diversity. It
sees culture as one of the foundations of the identity, dynamism and distinctiveness of Montréal.
Culture is viewed in a broad sense, to include the cultural industries and new technologies. The
policy also highlights digital culture, which it sees as aligned with Montréal’s ambition to be a
leader among smart and digital cities, using new technologies to serve citizens. There is also a
desire to integrate culture with other metropolitan development priorities.
In Montréal’s cultural policy a model of partnership is important. The municipality is committed
to an integrated and cross-cutting vision of cultural development, working with other municipal
departments, Tourism Montréal and other private sector organisations and through close cooperation
with the districts of the city. The city wants to encourage a cross-cutting approach, including
Promoting cultural and creative entrepreneurship; Using digital technology to enhance citizen
cultural experience and; Living together, which is embodied in the cultural quarters of Montréal.
Cultural development is seen as crosscutting. The Montréal cultural experience is based on bringing
people together, stimulating creativity, innovation, dissemination and the export of cultural works.
Cultural form
Museums and historic sites
Events and festivals
Cultural performances
Contemporary creation (digital arts, visual art, music, design)
It also stimulates outreach to publicise the quality, creativity and diversity of cultural products “to
strengthen Montréal’s distinctive brand as a creator of value and collective pride.”
The main priorities at Tourisme Montréal include developing new tourism markets and
strengthening international ties; promoting Montréal’s authentic and creative urban character;
personalizing the visitor’s experience; and helping to develop the city’s tourism infrastructure,
including “cultural neighbourhoods.”
The municipal administration is very proactive in developing cultural tourism and collaborates
closely with Tourisme Montréal and the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.
This cooperation led to the production, in 2010, of a first Cultural Tourism Development Plan, which
was very successful and was renewed for the 2014-2017 period. At the beginning of August 2018
there was a further renewal of the cultural tourism partnership for another 3 years. Montréal is the
only case study city that has a specific cultural tourism policy, which is largely due to the high level
of collaboration between cultural and tourism organisations. The city and the ministry contribute
financially to the programme, and Tourisme Montréal contributes with human resources. GOVERNANCE
The City of Montréal is responsible for cultural policy, and works in collaboration with Culture
Montréal, but it also maintains close links with the Government of Quebec, with which it runs joint
funding programmes. The city also has 19 districts (arrondissements) with some responsibility
for local culture and tourism activities. The Municipality runs a network of local Maisons de la
culture, which provide cultural services in the different neighbourhoods of the city.
Funding for arts organisations in Montréal is distributed by the arm’s-length Montréal Arts Council.
This distributed CAD11.6 million in 2015, spread over 434 different organisations. Although a few
major organisations do get substantial grants, this points to the overall fragmentation of the
arts scene. The Arts Council offers a number of specific funding programmes, such as residency
programmes to artists from various disciplines.
Tourisme Montréal is a non-profit destination marketing and development organisation that was
founded in 1919. It has representatives of the cultural sector on its board. Its activities include
three main areas: Marketing and promotion, hospitality and product development. There is close
collaboration between culture and tourism at city level, and now moves are being made to give
the districts more scope to develop activities at neighbourhood level. Interestingly the creative
industries are being dealt with by Tourisme Montréal, which produced a report on this sector in
2014. The collaboration between the culture and tourism sectors in Montréal is mainly based on
joint activities, particularly related to cultural tourism. However, Culture Montréal (a non-profit
organisation) is more focused on residents and their relationship to culture. Their main goal is
to help the districts to link culture with local communities.
3.4.3. Measures and projects
Various actions to link cultural policy and tourism are evident at different administrative levels.
At city level, the main actions stem from the Cultural Tourism Plan, which has included the
production of the following promotional tools:
• More than 100 Works of Public Art in Montréal, brought together through 5 thematic
routes and a public art map;
• The Guide to Creative Montréal, with 10 tours through the City’s cutting-edge arts scene;
• Art public Montréal, a website that to showcase 1,000 works located throughout the city;
• Passeport MTL culture, bringing together 31 partners, which saves its users money on a
wide range of popular cultural activities, as well as including integrated travel passes.
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and Tourisme Montréal supported the creation
La Vitrine culturelle
, which has become the central information showcase both for tourists
and for locals. The Ville de Montréal is also working on the development of the Montréal à
pied (MAP) pedestrian signs project, which will meet the need frequently expressed by cultural
organizations and the public for better identification of the locations of public and private cultural
and heritage attractions. The first MAP terminals will be installed in 2018 in Old Montréal and
deployed citywide in the years ahead.
Montréal actively supports the presence in the city of creators, artists and craftspeople to
enhance the quality of life of its citizens. To this end, the City offers a variety of subsidy programs
for artists and cultural workers, as well as outreach activities to showcase local creative works
through its dissemination network. Artère is a one-stop portal that brings together practical
information for Montréal’s emerging artists. It provides information on funding opportunities,
venues, legal issues and training to tips on management and promotion. The site includes such
practical tools as an events calendar, grant schedule, bulletin board and directory of artists.
Art Public Montréal’s objective is to increase awareness of Montréal as an international public
art destination. It brings together the owners of public artworks installed on the territory of
Montréal with the metropolis’s influential stakeholders. The aim is to disseminate Montréal’s
extensive public art collection. This collection will eventually include more than 1,000 accessible
public artworks, both outdoors and indoors. The works are permanent and installed in common
public areas. Public artworks are found in places used either in passing or for meeting, such as
public squares and parks, metro stations, cultural venues, educational institutions, government
buildings, the headquarters and branches of companies, health care centres and even in sports
and community facilities. Includes mural art - In 2016, the Ville de Montréal created a Mural
Arts Program designed to beautify Montréal’s public spaces through the production of outdoor
murals that are visible, creative and relate to their surrounding environment.
Guide to Creative Montréal
, published in 2013, offers visitors the opportunity to immerse
themselves in the creative scenes of the 19 districts of the city.
The Guide to Creative Montréal offers ten self-guided tours through Montréal’s buzzing
arts scene to help you discover the city’s vigorous creative side. These carefully crafted
itineraries help you see the city on foot, discovering or rediscovering neighbourhoods and
public spaces where art expresses itself in all its forms. You’ll enjoy events, visit galleries
and concert halls, meet artists, and make all kinds of unexpected discoveries. Digital
arts, visual arts, performing arts, music, and design are all on offer in each tour.
However, it seems that the guide itself has had relatively little impact. One reason may be that
visitors are increasingly using social as a more accessible and up-to-date source of information
on activities and attractions in the different districts of the city.
Some of the city districts currently have plans to do something with tourism (although it seems
not much is happening at the moment). The districts have organized consultation meetings with
the community and artists to try and find out what is important for them. The implementation
of cultural neighbourhoods throughout the city is seen as a unique opportunity to strengthen
the provision of local cultural services while continuing efforts to democratize arts and culture
for the montréalais. In some neighbourhoods, attitudes to tourism are changing as a result of
Airbnb. But basically people still want visitors, even though they don’t always understand how
tourism works. The big question is what do tourists want? In many cases they want to learn
about and explore the ‘local’ (taking self-guided tours of neighbourhoods, for example).
One project that is in development is the creation of “quartiers culturels”, part of the Montréal
métropole culturelle 2007-2017 plan. This concept was developed according to the principles of
cultural sustainability enshrined in Agenda 21 for Culture. The aim is to develop greater cultural
proximity throughout the city to encourage cultural participation and increase the quality of life. A kit is
being developed to help to valorise the neighbourhoods and to stimulate new projects. The evaluation
of culture in each neighbourhood will also feed into decisions on the possibilities for and the shape of
future tourism-related developments. Residents seem to be open to the initiative, particularly as it is
aimed at visitors who are interested more in experiences and being in touch with the locals.
3.4.4. Vision of the city and strategies for the future
Investing in cultural neighbourhoods and cultural proximity is a key part of developing the
cultural metropolis. The idea is to strengthen the cultural fabric of the city for the benefit of all,
making the different areas of the city attractive to live in as well as to visit. In the future:
the visitation experience must provide the feeling of being immersed in an intense and omnipresent
urban cultural life. Visitors wandering through the various Montréal neighborhoods must feel
the presence of culture in all its forms, whether it be the quality of the urban environment
around the major attractions, or the range of diverse and complementary experiences available.
throughout a day or a stay. (Tourisme Montréal, 2010)
As Montréal continues to develop as a cultural metropolis, there is also likely to be more attention
paid to the role of contemporary creative activities in attracting and developing tourism. The
report on Tourism and Contemporary Creativity (Tourisme Montréal, 2014) argues that the city
is now attracting ‘les touristes de la création actuelle 2.0’ who are looking for ‘cutting edge’
culture. The report identifies Digital Arts, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music and Design as five
sectors that link many current events and venues in Montréal and which are also likely to appeal
to the new wave of ‘creative tourists’ (Richards and Raymond, 2000).
The shift towards contemporary creativity has important implications in terms of linkages with
new technologies and social media. It will be important for the city to stay abreast of the latest
trends and learn from best practices, while striving to innovate and maintain its distinctiveness
in order to differentiate itself in a crowded tourism market. One important part of this will be
attracting new audiences to support cultural institutions which often flourish, but which are also
very fragile. At the same time there is also a desire to increase the implication of residents and
visitors in the consumption and production (or co-creation) of culture: “A culture where every
montréalais, whatever their origin is, can not only assist, but participate, take action.” (Interview).
3.4.5. Conclusion
Montréal has a number of parallels with the European cities analysed in this report, but also a
number of important differences. Just as in Europe, tourism is growing and having a significant
impact on the production and consumption of culture in the city. Montréal is also seeking
effective ways to use culture to bind the different parts of the metropolitan region together. The
cultural metropolis programme shows a commitment to using culture as a transversal and
transformational element to this end.
The emphasis on partnership is more evident than in Europe, perhaps because of the differences
in cultural funding approaches in Europe and North America. Even though Montréal, as a
Francophone city, is closer to the European model than most other North American cities, there
is still a much greater willingness to involve the private sector, and evidence of structural public-
private partnerships that can support interesting initiatives. One sign of this is the cultural
tourism programme, which is set to continue for further three years.
Another major difference in Montréal is the relatively low level of tourism flows. With a much
smaller domestic market and with international travel being relatively expensive, it is difficult for
the city to achieve the same volumes of business that cities such as Barcelona or Amsterdam
have. This means that there is relatively little negative reaction to tourism growth at present
(although there are already some irritations about Airbnb). So moves to spread tourism are
much more related to ideas about diffusing culture throughout the city rather than any idea of
dealing with the negative externalities of tourism.
The recent renewal of the cultural tourism programme points to a desire to continue the
successful model of partnership which has delivered considerable benefits over the past decade.
3.5 ROME
Geographical area: 5,363km2
City population: 2,627,000
Metropolitan population: 4,340,000
Percentage of total national population living in the city: 7.1%
GDP (PPP): €140 billion
Creative industries employment: 9.8%
3.5.1. General context and background
Rome is the vibrant and cultural capital of Italy, but in many senses the city is hostage to its great
history. Rome, in common with many other capitals, has a large number of national as well as
local cultural institutions, and has the additional weight of immense heritage resources that
need to be maintained. There have been recent additions to the contemporary cultural supply in
Rome, including the UNESCO Creative City of Film and the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st
Century Arts, a museum of contemporary art and architecture designed by Zaha Hadid.
Rome has been suffering for many years with financial and administrative problems, which have
also negatively affected the external image of the city. Tourism growth in Rome is the slowest of
all the case study cities, and culture appears undervalued and underutilised: “Culture in Rome
is not prioritised as it should be. The level of appreciation and interaction of culture with other
sectors of urban development is low. Different sectors still operate in silos.” (Lucio Argano,
Director, Rome Film Festival). Dealing with such problems is not easy in a city where levels of
trust in the public administration are among the lowest in Europe (see Figure 2.12).
The election of the Five Star administration in 2016 introduced a number of changes in policy and
intentions for the future. For example, the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games was dropped,
with the incoming mayor refusing to saddle the city with further debt and white elephant facilities.
Rome is also at the forefront of Italy’s migration debate, as many of the country’s 180,000 asylum
seekers and refugees are located in or near Rome. The new Mayor has taken a tough stance on
migrants, saying “We can’t afford new arrivals.” But Rome has already become a multi-ethnic
and multicultural city and will need to find ways of addressing these issues in future.
The streams of mobile populations (migrants, tourists, students) add further pressure to an
already overburdened urban infrastructure. Transport is a major issue in a city where new
developments are restricted by the weight of history, and geographic and social fragmentation
make connecting the different parts of the city difficult. This fragmentation also limits the
potential of tourism, as most visitors only visit the city centre, and the opportunity to exploit the
value of the whole city is being missed. According to the WCCF (2015): “Rome is a city in flux and
its powerful heritage no longer adequately expresses its identity”.
3.5.2. Linkages between culture and tourism
Culture and tourism have been inextricably linked in Rome since antiquity, and this bond was
strengthened by the rise of the Grand Tour in the 18th century. As the WCCF report (2015) notes:
“Rome appears to have an almost limitless appeal to tourists, and it is in the visitor economy
that most of the opportunities for the city exist. Most existing tourism activity is concentrated in
the city centre, leaving much of potential value relatively undiscovered.”
The concentration of tourism in the centre is a major issue for the city, because it implies
additional stress on services there, and a considerable imbalance between the centre and the
periphery. One of the major challenges of the Municipality is to try and spread the supply and
consumption of culture more evenly over the relatively large expanse of the city. There is also a
feeling that the city has in the past paid too much attention to tourism and built heritage at the
expense of other aspects of culture. The new Vice Mayor for Culture, Luca Bergamo, commented
in a recent interview:
To imagine that the heritage of Rome is simply a tool at the service of tourism means
giving an interpretation of the city as a museum. The same thing that happens in Venice.
But this kills the development of Rome and kills the development of the country. On the
contrary, this uniqueness of Rome is something on which to build a new social contract,
a model of different development, in which even the indirect economic exploitation of
this presence is not derived from the fact that the consumption of the good is sold as an
object that enriches the use of people’s free time, but it is an opportunity to build around
this immense heritage the context of a rich, contemporary cultural life.
Taking a new approach to culture is also seen as a potential means of avoiding tensions between
tourists and residents. The idea is that if citizens feel they have good access to culture and other
resources, they will also accept tourism more. At the moment, locals often think tourists get
more than they do, so the idea is to promote living together by increasing the cultural possibilities
for citizens. POLICIES
Cultural policy in Rome is aimed at breaking down the divisions between the centre and the
whole, between the past and the present. This requires a certain repositioning of the city, because
Rome is uncertain of how it wishes to be seen, by the world or by itself. (WCCF, 2015)
The new Five Star administration was elected in 2016, and has set about re-organising the
governance. For example, the large and small theatres were previously separated in terms
of administration, but they are now administered together. There has also been some re-
organisation of museums, under a new vision dedicated to contemporary and future issues to
help citizens deal with new challenges.
The right to culture is seen as fundamental to developing a critical and informed citizenship and to
social progress. The cultural policy frames cultural value in social rather than in monetary terms,
and stresses the need to move from an uncoordinated to an integrated cultural system for the city.
It stresses the need for intercultural dialogue to cope with the changing population of Rome, and
will encourage the institutions to adhere to the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
The policy also stresses the need to open up new cultural spaces, and 39 libraries are now being
re-purposed as culture hubs, serving the neighbourhoods and forging links with other cultural
institutions. There is also an important role for science, which is viewed as a facet of culture –
“Culture in Rome must mean also Science for all.”
In general terms, the aim is to reverse the decline in funding that has affected the cultural sector
in recent years:
The cultural life of the Capital will again be for the benefit of those who live in Rome,
not only as an audience, but also through active participation. In this way the millions
of tourists who visit Rome will also be guaranteed an increase in the quality and variety
of the cultural offer, a more balanced distribution during the year, more reasons for
extending their presence stay and, hopefully, a greater desire to live and invest in Rome,
world capital of culture (Roma Capitale, 2016).
The current tourism policy recognises that tourist interest in the city has declined in recent
years, leading also to a falling length of stay. This indicates that the developments in cultural
policy, which aim to improve the cultural content of the city, should also have a direct impact on
tourism and the experience of tourists as well.
The new tourism policy also envisages a number of new measures to reduce the evasion of
tourist tax, improvements in transport, promotion of business tourism, the establishment of
a convention bureau and collaboration with tour operators to promote themed routes and the
‘hidden corners of Rome’.
One sign of this new approach is a push to develop tourism in the suburbs, in the ‘hidden corners’
of the city, but this will be a challenge. Alessia Mariotti, a cultural tourism expert from the
University of Bologna, is sceptical about developing tourism in the suburbs of art cities such as
Rome, which have no developed tourist offer. “You can do tourist promotion and communication
after you have created a tourism product. Otherwise there will be no results.” GOVERNANCE
Two municipal departments are Involved in the governance of tourism: firstly the Department of
Cultural Activities, which covers museums, heritage and cultural participation, and secondly the
Department of Tourism. The Department of Cultural Activities is responsible for the development
of the right to cultural participation. The main targets include temporary and permanent
residents because of dynamic nature of the city. The aim is to bring culture and heritage into
the lives of all citizens. One major problem is that 67% of the city area is green, but it is spread
out from the centre, and so has problems of access. Mobility is poor, people often do not go to
the centre to use cultural facilities there, and cannot easily travel between different peripheral
neighbourhoods. So the focus of the Cultural Activities Department is on protecting citizens and
their rights to access culture, and trying to balance the previous emphasis on tourism. Priorities
in culture have changed with the change in political control of the city to the Five Star Movement.
As Luca Bergamo remarked, the previous emphasis on linking tourism and commercial culture
was not good, because: “the tourism economy does not create distribution, does not spread
knowledge and, focusing the focus on a few places in the city, tends to stress them.” So there