Guest article in the taz newspaper about Berlin’s tourism policy: “Raus aus der Werbeschleife” [Out of the advertising loop]

Together with Johannes Novy, URG member Christoph Sommer reflected on the future of Berlin’s tourism policy. Based on three arguements, they call for “less marketing and more tourism policy“. Firstly, they point out that the tourism policy stipulations made in the coalition agreement of the Berlin state government do not offer adequate answers to the current crises of tourism (COVID pandemic, possible return of “overtourism”, climate crisis). Secondly, the authors critize that it is part of the “business as usual” of Berlin’s tourism policy that good and long-standing tourism policy ideas (hotel development plan, travel and sightseeing bus concept, citizens’ advisory council) are not implemented. Finally, Novy and Sommer illustrate the need for intelligent “urban (tourism) development” that addresses Berlin’s tourism appeal as well as the quality of life of Berlin’s residents by looking at specific urban tourism sites (Checkpoint Charlie, Rummelsburger Bucht, Spreepark). 

The article is in German, you can read it here: „Raus aus der Werbeschleife“

Gemeinsam mit Johannes Novy hat sich URG-Mitglied Christoph Sommer Gedanken zur Zukunft der Berliner Tourismuspolitik gemacht. Ihr Plädoyer für „weniger Marketing und mehr Tourismuspolitik“ gründen die Autoren im Wesentlichen auf drei Beobachtungen. Zum einen kritisieren die Autoren, dass die im Koalitionsvertrag der Berliner Landesregierung getroffenen tourismuspolitischen Festlegungen, den Krisen des Tourismus (COVID-Pandemie, womöglich zurückkehrender „Übertourismus“, Klimakrise) nicht gerecht würden. Zum „business as usual“ der Berliner Tourismuspolitik gehöre zum zweiten, dass es nicht gelänge, gute und lange schon existierende tourismuspolitische Ideen (Hotelentwicklungsplan, Reise- und Sightseeingbuskonzept, Bürgerinnenbeirat) umzusetzen. An konkreten Orten des Stadttouristischen (Checkpoint Charlie, Rummelsburger Bucht, Spreepark) veranschaulichen Novy und Sommer schließlich den Bedarf einer klugen „Stadt(tourismus)entwicklung“, die den touristischen Appeal Berlins genauso adressiert wie die Lebensqualität der Berlinerinnen und Berliner. 

Den vollständigen Artikel gibt es hier: „Raus aus der Werbeschleife“

Conference: “Tourism in turbulent times”

The Working Group on Tourism Research (AKTF) of the German Association of Geographers (DGfG) hosts its annual conference. The title of the event is “Tourism in turbulent times” and some of our research group members will be attending and/or giving a presentation.

The conference is structured along four sessions:

(1) COVID-19 and city tourism,
(2) Post-COVID-19 and regional tourism in Germany,
(3) COVID-19, tourism and media,
(4) sustainability.

More information (in German only) here.

New Urban Tourism – Short Trip #2

Join us for our second digital short trip! This time we will hear about the work of the Lockdown Stories Collective in Rio de Janeiro. Our short trip is called
“Crisis as Attraction: Storytelling and Community Resilience in Rio’s Favelas”
and it will be held by
Camila Moraes, Isabella Rega, Juliana Mainard-Sardon, Bernado de La Vega Vinolo, and Fabian Frenzel
May 20, 2021, 6–7PM.

Join us for the presentation and discussion via zoom, please register at

Abstract: COVID-19 has hit communities around the globe and brings unprecedented challenges. Among more deprived communities, such as favelas in Rio de Janeiro, the impact of the virus, its consequences for the health, income and social life of the communities is exacerbated by a priori exclusion and marginality. In this talk some of the responses that citizens in those communities have developed to the crisis will be presented. This includes practices of digital storytelling, the telling of ‘lockdown stories’. In these practices, favela residents and collectives, often previously involved in community tourism and guided political tours, are reorganizing their touristic offerings for global virtual audiences. The lockdown stories research collective brings together researchers and community activists in Rio’s favelas. The project is based on a collaboration between Dr Isabella Rega (Bournemouth), Dr Fabian Frenzel (Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy) and the Observatory of Favela Tourism, led by Dr Camila Moraes at the University of Rio. It includes groups such as the Museo de Favela (MuF), the Santa Marta Tour Guide collective and others engaged in community led tourism and political and social advocacy.

New Urban Tourism – Short Trips 2021

The Urban Research Group New Urban Tourism is back! 
As the COVID-19 pandemic restricts physical travel, we invite you to join us for our digital Short Trips, a series of online talks at our imaginary pool bar. Changing guests will present their perspectives on urban tourism phenomena and current research findings. The first talk
“Touristification, social movements and creative professionals: Findings from Athens”
will be held by
Dr. Dimitris Pettas (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, TU Berlin) on
March 15, 2021, 6–7PM.

Join us for the discussion via zoom, please register at

Abstract: During the last few years, Athens has experienced a substantial increase in tourist inflows, while transforming from a one-day stop destination during summer to a year-round, city-break destination. This overall shift in the city’s touristic identity was driven by a series of trends and events that increased Athens’ popularity. The presentation explores the role of the aforementioned developments in the emergence of Athens as a city-break destination, along with processes of touristification, focusing on the central district of Exarcheia, where grassroots political activity and creativity co-exist in high densities. Due to the increased touristic traffic in the area, specific, often interrelated problematic conditions emerge concerning housing, residents’ everyday life and local businesses’ activity. At the same time, political groups and precarious creative professionals are facing substantial threats due to touristification.

Cheers, your Urban Research Group New Urban Tourism

Travel, Tourism & COVID-19

TRINET (Tourism Research Information Network) collects all relevant information for tourism science research that addresses the challenges and opportunities of the pandemic. Their website features a constantly updated collection of calls for papers, conference announcements, publications, relevant surveys, and funding opportunities. The challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 for new urban tourism also require further discussion and research.

You can find this collection here.

Overtourism and the sharing economy

The International Journal of Tourism Cities published an issue on “Overtourism and the sharing economy” early this year. Both topics touch on important aspects of new urban tourism and the articles deal with important and pressing issues. In their paper “The Airbnb phenomenon: the resident’s perspective”, Steven Richards, Lorraine Brown and Alessandra Dilettuso, for example, examine how Barcelona’s residents deal with the rising number of Airbnb accommodations in their city. And in “Social media, media and urban transformation in the context of overtourism” Hochan Jang and Minkyung Park use the example of a neighborhood in Seoul to show the consequences of turning a residential area into a tourist attraction.

The complete table of contents and links to the articles can be found here.

Tourism and Everyday Life in the Contemporary City

Last year we published “Tourism and Everyday Life in the Contemporary City” (Routledge), one of the first volumes addressing the diverse phenomena of new urban tourism. Even though the current situation will fundamentally change the way we travel, our book provides helpful and useful information on the facets of urban tourism.

Based on the thesis that “tourism and urban everyday life are deeply connected in a mutually constitutive way”, this volume explores the various moments when a city’s everyday life turns into a matter of tourist interests for travellers, short-term visitors, and/or long-term residents. It offers different interdisciplinary approaches to shed some light on this phenomenon, on the dynamic research field of new urban tourism. This tourism is focused on the extraordinary mundane, opens up new contact zones, and results in urban co-production.

You can order your copy here.

The Untourist Guide to Amsterdam

The ongoing COVID 19 crisis will certainly have a huge impact on the way we travel. But even before the pandemic, popular tourist cities were already thinking about how to change urban tourism. Because in cities like Barcelona, Lisbon, San Francisco or Berlin, the high number of visitors is increasingly at the expense of the quality of life of long-time residents. In Amsterdam, an initiative called “Untourist Guide to Amsterdam” asked itself how tourism could be made more sustainable – more sustainable for the city, its inhabitants and travelers alike. On their website you can browse and book experiences and accommodations that are “hidden to mass tourism” and try “to change tourism in Amsterdam for the better”.

Since such projects actively think about the future of city tourism and focus primarily on local and individual city experiences, they too represent a facet of new urban tourism.