The backlash against overtourism

post by : gaia.boeri

More people are travelling, and many are visiting the same places

The word  “overtourism” entered recently the lexicon of the travel world to describe the consequences of having to many visitors in one place at the same time. Tourism is booming and the number of travellers is constantly increasing. According to the World Tourism Organisation, the number of international visitors making overnight stays, grew to 1.3 B in 2017, twice the number of the year 2000.
Problems are not caused by the increase of the number of tourists but, as Alex Dichter, partner of the consultancy Mckinsey, reports, with the fact that a lot of people want to visit the same places at the same time. Such overcrowding brings costs and problems, which have to be supported by local residents. For example, pavements, roads and cycle lanes are clogged. The level of pollution is increasing globally and ordinary services for citizens are slowly disappearing.
For this reason, governments and Local authorities are starting to react in order to develop strategies to cope with the problem.
The most extreme reaction, as already done by the president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, is to completely ban tourists from certain locations. Others, like in Venice, try to cap the number of visitors by limiting the number of cruises ships reaching the ports and other measures. Another approach as suggested by councillors in Edinburgh could be to introduce a tourist tax, to better reflect and distribute the costs that tourists impose on communities.
Nobody wants really less tourists. In fact, according to McKinsey “People in 99% of countries in the world are crying out for more tourists.” In addition, tourism directly accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s GDP, employs 5% of the world’s workforce and generates one in five new jobs. It also positively affects economy in poorer countries employing a huge amount of people and attracting foreign investors.
Overcrowding in some locations could be attributed to the rise of the “bucket lists”: Internet lists which direct tourists to the same Unique Selling Point places around the world like Venice and Amsterdam.
In the end, according to Thordi Gylfadottir, Iceland’s tourist minister, the answer to the problem is to send people less to overcrowded places and, instead “spread visitors out to undiscovered sites of the countries”.




post by : jasmin.hirsbrun



The article explains how ongoing globalization changed traditional success factors in tourism in Switzerland, focused on alpine tourism, and proposes approaches for adaption to these changes.

In the last 30 years we have experienced a dramatic change in tourism demand. Cheap airline transport and information technologies such as the internet make travelling available for everybody. Modern tourists are experienced travelers, they have become critical regarding prices and quality and visitdestinations all over the world, depending on the specific travel motivation. Therefore, customer loyalty is decreasing. The today’s traveler asks for experiences and authenticity as a contrast to a more and more artificial world. 

Tourism organizations have to assure the competitiveness of their destinations. 


A concept for new structures in alpine tourism marketing has been worked out by an expert group, outlined as follows: 

-      The offer within a destination should include all the necessary facilities such as eg. entertainment, lodging and transportation

-      The destination should have at least one independent brand, which tourists can link the area to and then start creating new brands as eg. sights, attractions, local specialties

-      Qualified personnel plays an important role, therefore front personnel training should be organized in order to remain high standards 

-      Reservation facilities (eg. Expedia, enable to serve as many points of sale as possible

-      Big events should be organized in cooperationwith other destinations and different partners in tourism

-      Sale of marketable products 

-      Provision of information desk and complaint office


Marketing plays a crucial role in the alpine destinations:

-      By selecting segments and focusing on specific markets in other continents we reach the right customers 

-      Conducting market research provides the knowledge of needs and wants of targeted customers 

-      Developing a marketing strategy 

-      Tourism destinations need to merge in order to become more powerful and needing less funds 



Prof. Dr. Thomas Bieger, (1998) "Reengineering destination marketing organisations: The case of Switzerland", The Tourist Review, Vol. 53 Issue: 3, pp.4-17,


Suggested articles:

Daniela Soldić Frleta. 2018. SHIFTS IN TOURISTS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE DESTINATION OFFERING. Tourism and hospitality management 24:2. 


Francesca Iandolo, Irene Fulco, Luca Carrubbo, Stefano Armenia. 2018. Destination mobility management in the light of service research: the "good practices" of south Tyrol. ESPERIENZE D'IMPRESA :2, 39-63. 


Managing tensions in coopetition

post by : jasmin.eiholzer

In each business relationship that involves cooperation and competition are tensions involved. There are different types of tensions which generally represent a negative side of business relationships. Possible tensions such as roles, knowledge, power and dependence and opportunism are related to conflicts and are therefore somehow the outcome of e specific type of relationship. One of these types is role tension, this tension can be a result of different aims of the organisations and the cooperation in addition to the role tension knowledge can be a tension because it can be a source of competitive advantage and therefore add value to an organisation. However, knowledge sharing can have synergy effects, but it is important to set some rules in order to find the right balance between what to share and what to keep secret. Power and dependence which is often has a relation to the size and the influence of a firm are also a category of tensions. Another type of tension is opportunism which is defined by a shift of interests from an egoistic to a more collective behaviour. Different models of conflict management are acknowledged, the most often used model from Thomas and Kilmann (1974) has five handling styles named as; competition, collaboration, compromise, avoidance and accommodation. It’s said that trust can reduce possible tension and therefore can have a positive effect on a business relationship. Furthermore, is the management of tension coupled with the outcome of them. This outcome can be positive, mixed or negative. Which means that it is possible that both are sufficient with the outcome, only one party is content with it, or both are insufficient. In the nature of business relationships is the mixed outcome the most common, normally if there is a negative outcome there will not be a future collaboration between those two business partners. Although tensions are expected negative they can have a positive effect but never the less we ned to adapt our knowledge to attempt a positive outcome.


Determining factors of mountain destination innovativeness

post by : celine.matthijs

The rapidly changing business environment is forcing destinations to innovate in order to remain competitive. Innovation is increasingly recognized as being important for destination development.

Tourists compare destinations with one another when making travel decisions, which is why stakeholders within destinations should work together in order to better compete with other destinations. 
The aim of the research, in this article I’ve read, is the identification of important elements of innovativeness that could improve destination innovativeness and development.

Tourism destination innovativeness

Protecting, maintaining or strengthening destination development is a key challenge in the tourism sector. Theories, frameworks, models or processes were developed to cope with this challenge and to provide an insight into the complexity of management 

Mountain destination innovativeness

A mountain destination can be defined as a geographical, economic and social entity that incorporates companies, organizations, activities, areas and infrastructure developed to satisfy the special needs of mountain tourists. Infrastructure is a key in mountain destinations and should be in line with sustainable development. Changing demand requires a new and innovative tourism infrastructure that can contribute to proper mountain destination development. 


Innovativeness can increase the destination’s ability to meet and adjust to global changes that enable the destinations to become ‘future makers’. Additional research is needed in regard to mountain destinations, especially in the field of innovation. The results also have practical implications, as they provide knowledge for destination managers and other stakeholders in mountain destinations. They can also be used as an aid to identify strengths and weaknesses and consequently achieve growth and sustainability. 


The opportunities and risks of tourism in the Swiss
mid-altitude mountain areas.

post by : yasmine.burnet

Usually, a place is considered touristic based on the principle of the market economy of this region, which gives an idea of the long-term viability of economic activities. It should be as far as possible respective of both the natural and socio-cultural environment.


In Gruyere region, three levels of governments shape tourism policy.

  • The federal level exists a Swiss concept of tourism,
  • The level of the canton that concerns the legislation of the promotion and operation of the tourism sector and finally
  • The region itself that manages the planning, development and installation of tourist facilities as an association that has the advantage of ensuring more direct and more democratic approach to tourism development.


Between 1960-1990, regional tourism was one of the factors, which contributed to the development of the Gruyere region, however those results cannot be generalised to every mid-altitude mountain area of CH.


The Gruyere region has the chance to be well-known worldwide, however, the region nowadays, id going thought important changes which makes some people say that ‘’the region is close the beginning of second generation of economy> some other say < it will become one of the favourite destination of European tourists>


To analyse that, a state of paly has to be done first, then the chances and risks could be discuss.


The state of play:

  • The duration of the season: winter, because of the global warming, is getting less and less important which create an imbalance between the alps and the mid-alps where the snow is usually less important. It leads to a lack of profit in the cable way installation (Moléeon or Charmey)
  •  The short-stay tourist VS the long term: the short ones tend to take over the long ones which creates ‘cold beds’ for some hotels, quite a lot of people like to come for a day and then leave.


The development of highway brought closer some place like Zermatt, Davos, and St-Moritz and so on to the flatland, which reduced to amount of tourist in the pre-Alps region. With all those complex elements, the mid-altitude mountain areas should work together. By coordinating divers intervention such as environmental and socio-cultural events, the management of touristic activities and the modernization of the infrastructures and superstructure.



Gruyere posses many strengths such as, the fact that it’s worldwide known related to the cheese and the city of Gruyere which the castle is one of the most visited attraction of Switzerland, the central geographic situation, the accessibility, the professionalism of the people working in the restaurants or hotels, the culture, and of course the landscape which is still pretty intact. Tourists are more and more looking for authenticity and Gruyere cross all those criteria. And so on…



They have indeed to look up for there own problems as well, their internal problems.


To sum up, those region have a huge and very strong force with their particular risks but by working together and promote each other, they could indeed getting stronger and more stable.



Mining customer knowledge for tourism new product development and customer relationship management

post by : leonie.biba

Tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy. It contributes to regional and national economic development. For this reason, it is important for marketers to stay close to their customers and keep them as clients. The aim of studying new product development (NPD) and customer relationship management (CRM) is to improve the ability to anticipate and understand buying behaviour by staying focused on the customers’ needs and wants. Customer purchases have profiles and patterns and understanding these is a way for businesses to get closer to the buyer, and therefore develop long-term relationships with them in the tourism industry. For this purpose, the customer must be the focal point of the organisation.

In order to give the customer all the attention, we need to know what it is that they want: we need to collect data. The process of discovering this sort of information, such as patterns and associations, is called data mining. Market knowledge can then be extracted from the analysis of the data.

In this article, a study was done on tourists in Taiwan, to find out what their preferences and purchase behaviour were, and to understand their market segmentation. The results showed that the main factors considered by customers on inbound travel were security, travel agency reputation, travel style and acceptable price. The travel agency where the data was from was then able to think about developing new tourism products, according to the results they found.


Keywords:tourism management, new product development, data mining, customer relationship management

Source:Liao, S. H., Chen, Y. J., & Deng, M. Y. (2010). Mining customer knowledge for tourism new product development and customer relationship management. Expert Systems with Applications37(6), 4212-4223. 


What future has Switzerland as a holiday destination?

post by : miriam.fux

In the 1970s, the discussion was dominated by the statement that tourism is taking the risk of destroying its capital, namely its intact nature. A sensitization took place, for a careful handling of the resource landscape. 

According to a representative survey, an intact nature and a beautiful landscape are the most important pull factors for tourists to visit Switzerland. It also showed that hotel overnight stays have increased in recent years, especially in structurally weak peripheral regions, which have a wide variety of landscapes. 

The aim is to sensitize tourism promoters and visitors. To reach this aim, long-term projects with sustainable content are promoted to provide various offers to tourists.

The division of work in our society with its highly specialized working environment arises tourism additional opportunities. As a result, tourism has the opportunity to make a contribution to experience something we miss in our everyday life, for instance to maintain a dry stone wall.

The environment and tourism will benefit if the diversity and beauty of the landscape can be preserved.


development of mountain destination

post by : robin.wenger


Innovation, sustainable tourism and environments in mountain destination development: a comparative analysis of Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland


The article talks about different factors that can influence the development of a mountain destination such as the different environments (economic, technological, natural and socio-cultural) and the innovation level.


Mountains destinations are very susceptible to the negative impacts that humans cause and need to be protected through sustainable development to preserve their way of life and tourism play a key role in the conservation of mountain destinations.


To successfully carry out and measure the concept of sustainable development in mountain destinations, a variety of indicators should be used for the assessment of a destination’s development.


A comparison between 3 mountain destinations (Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia)

This research can show that the destinations in Switzerland and in Austria outperform in almost every point the destination in Slovenia however the Slovenian destinations have a great potential for development. Even though, Switzerland and Austria cannot be differentiated in terms of the most successful tourism development, they have still few differences between them such as environmental sustainability and transportation which are a bit more convenient in Switzerland.





The Concierge. Tradition, Obsolescence and Innovation in Tourism

post by : oriane.gachet


In this summary, we will see how a role figure of the hotel industry, the concierge, is evolving.

First, what is a concierge? A concierge is a traditional key role in the hotel industry. He can be described as “the most outstanding interpreter of luxury service in hospitality”. His role is to provide services, information and advice to the hotel customers but also take restaurant, concert and other reservations for them. The concierge has also other qualities such as empathy and communication skills, as he is in direct contact with the customers.

More and more, the role of concierge is being replaced by various persons or by technology. In less luxurious hotels, the receptionist will often play the role of a concierge. Sometimes, hotels also hire concierge from specialised firms. These private concierges are not part of the hotel staff and therefore have no “memory” of the guests. They can’t build lasting relationships with frequent hotel customers. An example of a private concierge company would be John Paul, founded in Paris in 2008.
Nowadays with the democratisation of internet, more and more customers find information directly on the net. The concierge is only there to confirming and reassuring the guest on the information they already found. They are also expected to give personal advices which cannot be found on internet. More extreme situations occur when technology completely takes the role of the concierge. In Vancouver, the Opus hotel provides an example of a virtual concierge. Customers have a virtual contact with this concierge by answering questions on the internet. Based on their answers, the Hotel provides specific recommendations to the different customer micro-segments.
Robots are also being implemented in hotels’ hall to greet customers, answer their questions and take their reservations. The Connie robot introduced in Hilton hotels is a good example of this new concierge type.

As concierges are traditionally very important in the hospitality field, there is a big controversy around the fact of the concierges being replaced by robots. Virtual concierges are reducing costs and offer very effective customer satisfaction, but an interview shows that customers were still in need of human contact, especially for more specific services.  

The future of concierges in hospitality is slowly disappearing but good news, post internet concierges are likely  reorient themselves in other places like malls, apartment buildings, companies, etc. They might also cover new services like babysitting, grocery delivery, health care and so on to help people have a better balance between their professional and personal life.


Source: Bellini, N., & Convert, L. (2017). The Concierge. Tradition, Obsolescence and Innovation in Tourism. Symphonya. Emerging Issues in Management, (2), 17-25.



In What condition is a price increase perceived as fair? An empirical investigation in the cable car industry

post by : anthony.vollenwe

This research has been done by the University of Wollongong, Australia, in collaboration with researcher from the University of St. Gallen. They conducted a survey in order to understand the customer’s perceived price fairness in function of different price increase conditions. Because of the fierce national and international competition but also to protect their image and loyal customer, Swiss firms seem reluctant to change their price compared to other countries which made it a good subject for this study: only 38% did it between 2016/17 and increase of only 17% compared to around 35% for the other alpine countries (Vanat, 2017).

Four claims have been advanced, tested, and confirmed by this study (Bieger, Engeler, Laesser, 2010):

  1. A price increase based on an increase in a firm’s cost is perceived as more fair than a price increase due to excess demand.
  2. A price increase indicating an increase in customer’s perceived value is perceived as more fair than a price increase with no indication on an augmented perceived value.
  3. A price increase based on an external and uncontrollable cost-based reason is perceived as more fair than a price increase due to internal and controllable cost based reasons.
  4. A price increase with a reason provided is perceived as more fair than a price increase without a reason, even if the reason provided is unfavourable for the firm.

It is important to be aware of the customer’s view, of the customer’s behavior. By doing this, we understand that communication about a price change is probably the most important action. The change will be better accepted than by trying to hide it. Furthermore, the customer is more likely to accept a price change if there is an added value (Bieger, Engeler, Laesser, 2010), if he thinks that he will make himself better off, so revenue management is an important part of setting prices and how we justify it. If I develop more my personal thinking by using an element we have seen during the course; by justifying the reason of the different rates, the customer will understand why at that moment it is cheaper or more expensive and will take the responsibility about not having made the purchase at the right moment. We can say that the company transfers the responsibility of the level of the rates to the customers.

Key words: Price increase, perceived price fairness, accepted change


Bieger, T., Engeler, I. & Laesser, C. (2010). In what condition is a price increase perceived as fair? an empirical investigation in the cable car industry. 20th Annual CAUTHE 2010 Conference (pp. 1-12). Hobart, Tasmania: School of Management, University of Tasmania

Vanat, L. (2017). Bilan de la saison 2016 / 17 Fréquentation des domaines skiables. Bern : Remontées Mécanique Suisses