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Maria Månsson


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Mass tourism at a tipping point: Exploring the mediatisation of overtourism


  • Cecilia Cassinger
  • Maria Månsson

Summary, in English

The phenomenon of overtourism encapsulates the spirit of contemporary mass tourism. It has gained attention lately as an unsustainable consequence of the intensification of destination management principles in urban economic planning strategy. Stories about “the invasion” of visitors into a numberof popular European cities frequently circulate in news and social media. Research has begun to examine the social and economic causes of overtourism, but the phenomenon is undertheorized (e.g. Dodds & Butler, 2019). Even though a number of studies show that media narratives can dramatically increase the flow of visitors to a place and that such narratives affect the way visitors travel and interact withurban spaces (Panayiotopoulos & Pisano, 2019), processes of mediatisation are frequently neglected in tourism studies. The cultural transformations of our time are defined by globalisation and deep mediatisation (Couldry & Hepp, 2018). Hjarvard (2009: 160) defines mediatisation as ”the process whereby society to an increasing degree is submitted to, or becomes dependent on, the media and theirlogic.” The concept emphasise the institutionalisation of the media and the dialectical relationship between the media and social institutions (e.g. family, work, politics, war, etc.). The research aim in this paper is to conceptualise overtourism through exploring how it is mediatised in news reports and social media posts. Overtourism is here approached as cultural practice informed by a particular media dramaturgy. The study underscores the close relationship between media narratives and tourism saturation in cities. We contend that the mediatisation of overtourism contribute to theattractiveness of destinations, whilst at the same time mitigating flows of tourists to these destinations. Overtourism is constructed as a threat to not only the ecosystem of cities, but to local culture, world heritage sites, and community life. At the centre of the drama is the conflictual relationship between the natives (local residents) and the foreigners (tourists). Overtourism becomes an issue about rights and responsibilities, us and them, self and other. While mass tourism is intertwined in the economic growthand development of modern society, overtourism brings commercialization, urban decay and cultural despair. Hence, overtourism is not so much about unsustainable travel patterns, as it is about a range of other political issues tied to, for instance, current housing and labour conditions in many European cities.Keywords: overtourism, urban destinations, mediatization, sustainability, narrative analysis, politicsReferencesCouldry, N., & Hepp, A. (2018). The continuing lure of the mediated centre in times of deep mediatization: Media Events and its enduring legacy. Media, Culture & Society 40 (1), 114–117.Dodds, R. & Butler, R. W. (eds.) (2019) Overtourism: issues, realities and solutions. De Gruyter Oldenbourg.Hjarvard, S. (2009). Soft individualism: media and the changing social character. Lundby, K. (ed.) Mediatization: concept, Changes, consequences. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Panayiotopoulos, A., & Pisano, C. (forthcoming 2019). Overtourism dystopias and socialist utopias: towards an urban armature for Dubrovnik. Tourism Planning & Development, 1-18.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Economic Geography


  • overtourism
  • masstourism
  • mediatisation
  • urban tourism
  • cities

Conference name

28th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research

Conference date

2019-10-23 - 2019-10-25

Conference place

Roskilde, Denmark




  • Rethinking urban tourism development: Dealing with sustainability in the age of over-tourism