Limits to Growth – Challenges for the Tourism Industry

The 33rd annual ITSC was held in Falun, Sweden. This conference was focussed on the limits and over-development popular tourism destinations deal with these days. The big tourism flows are a global problem and therefore ‘over-tourism’ is now a big issue. How can upcoming tourism destinations deal with this phenomenon? That was the main aim of this year’s conference.

According to UNWTO, international tourism arrivals grew by 6 % in the first six months of 2017 to pass beyond one billion – a growth exceeding any optimistic forecast. Existing tourist destinations, such as iconic tourist attractions, along with the emergence of new markets present challenges for the tourism industry. How is the tourism industry responding to this growth in tourism? How are destinations coping with it? How can we manage destinations in a sustainable manner with this ever-increasing number of tourists? How is the use of natural, social and cultural resources addressed by destinations and the tourism industry?

These questions, as well as many others, have been discussed by the participating students, all who researched a specific case of their choosing. The cases either already experiences over-tourism or they would might challenge this problem in the (near) future.

Student testimonial

“The ITSC (International Student Conference) is personally a great opportunity to further broaden your international knowledge. This year the conference took place in Falun, Sweden, where 9 universities from 9 different countries participated. This year’s subject was the concept of over tourism which generated a lot of attention over the last couple of years. Each university had to write a research paper and present the findings at the conference. Our group, which consisted of 6 students, chose to research the residents perspective on over tourism in Amsterdam. We interviewed several parties intertwined with this subject (Amsterdam’s official resident committee & the municipality of Amsterdam), furthermore we also interviewed experts in the area of the subject. 

Although the research paper seems like a lot of additional work on top of your regular curriculum, the hard work will all be paid off during the conference. During the four days I learned so many new insights into the subject, but more importantly, I met a great deal of international students who share the same interests. This makes discussions very interesting and knowledgeable. Next to that, for me it felt like a small holiday since there was time to explore Stockholm and Falun, but the committee also organized trips and a closing gala diner. Despite, having some doubts in the beginning, I am extremely happy I participated in this conference, which will also help me in my future career and I have new friends from all over Europe, which is always easy if you are going on a holiday.” – Chris Verstappen Breda University of Applied Sciences