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.

Annual John Urry Lecture 2020: Covid-19, Mobilities and Futures

This year’s annual John Urry Lecture will focus on the many impacts of Covid-19 on (im)mobilities:

What does a Mobilities lens have to offer to illuminate our current Covid-19 predicament? What issues, usually overlooked or neglected, does it bring to the fore, whether explanatory or normative? And what futures does it enable us to see or envision, for better or worse?

Institute for Social Futures

The panel discussion is organized as an online event hosted by Lancaster University’s Institute for Social Futures, Centre for Mobilities Research and Sociology Department. The three key speakers are:

  • Professor Tim Cresswell (Edinburgh): How do we, might we, value mobility post COVID-19?
  • Professor Mimi Sheller (Drexel): Contested visions of im/mobilities
  • Professor Noel Salazar (KU Leuven): Essential vs. Existential Mobilities?

Questions of control, facilitation and restriction of (im)mobility affect tourism in general, and therefore also provide important insights into the future dynamics and development of new urban tourism.
You can find all info on this panel discussion here.

We Love Travel! – A tourism recovery pop-up in Berlin and online

What short- and long-term effects does it have on new urban tourism that travel is still heavily restricted or not possible at all? Some answers might be found at “We Love Travel! – A tourism recovery pop-up“. The event is taking place from 16-18 October 2020 and is organised by Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB Berlin) and Berlin Travel Festival:

The love for travel connects – across all borders. This will not change, not even in our much-cited “new normality”. […]
We want to look back together and draw an interim conclusion, but also look ahead and inspire new ideas. We Love Travel! brings everyone together – tourism professionals, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and travelers alike – including content creators such as Instagrammer and bloggers. […]
Companies have the possibility to present themselves digitally as virtual exhibitors or on-site in the arena with a stand. Visitors can either be present on-site or experience the entire three-day program – including all network events and exhibitor offers – live at

You can find more about the event here and you can buy tickets here.

Airbnb’s “City Portal”

Airbnb is one of the many actors who contribute to shaping new urban tourism in cities worldwide. A couple of days ago the company introduced a new data tool to help municipalities and tourism organizers to better control Airbnb short-term rentals in their cities. According to Airbnb, the so-called “City Portal” helps to keep track of tax revenues from short-term rentals, creates transparency in rental policies and regulations and should also provide more security for hosts and guests.
The portal has been launched with more than 15 pilot cities, including Palm Springs and San Francisco.

Airbnb’s “City Portal” has to be seen as a long-waited response to the demand for regulation, which is repeatedly raised not only in the media but also in the academic world. Whether and how effectively the company can counteract this demand through such its new portal remains open.

However, political regulation is one of several issues for the company. In her recent New York Times article, Elaine Glusac identified overtourism, racial discrimination, and party tourism as central challenges determining the “Future of Airbnb”.

Today is World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting travel and international mobilities all over the world, tourism is in decline and the tourism sector is in crisis. Against this background the UN describe this year’s World Tourism Day as a chance to think and discuss about the furture of tourism:

On this World Tourism Day, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism sector, including how it contributes to the sustainable development goals, through its social, cultural, political, and economic value. Tourism can eventually help us move beyond the pandemic, by bringing people together and promoting solidarity and trust – crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation so urgently needed at this time.

United Nations

UNWTO has chosen “Tourism and Rural Development” as the central theme for World Tourism Day 2020, underlining the importance for tourism in rural areas and communities.
You can find more info and events related to World Tourism Day on their website.



Reminder: Survey “Urban Life Amidst COVID-19”

You can still participate in the survey “Urban Life Amidst COVID-19” which is conducted by Prof. Dr. Talja Blokland (Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Dr. Johanna Hoerning (Technische Universität Berlin), and their research team. The survey focuses on Berlin’s city life amidst COVID-19.
Read more about the research project here and take the survey here.

PostDoc: The Platform Labor Project

In new urban tourism, jobs and work assignments are often mediated and managed using online platforms. The Platform Labor project at the University of Amsterdam is researching how sharing economy platforms like Uber or Airbnb affect the (re)organization of labor relations, working conditions, and urban policy-making in Amsterdam, Berlin, and New York City.

The interdisciplinary project team is looking for a PostDoc with expertise in comparative policy studies. Interested candidates can apply online until 1 October 2020. Your application should include your academic CV, a motivation letter, a vision statement for your research, and one writing sample.

You can find all information on the vacancy here.



US-American city tourism and Covid-19

The USA is strongly affected by the global pandemic. This has been apparent in the far-reaching changes in urban tourism, among other things. Bloomberg has collected data for individual cities in the USA and explores the economic effects.

The data, as well as interviews with mayors, budget directors and other government officials, offer another view of what’s at stake as lawmakers in Washington debate whether to provide more aid to coronavirus-battered states and cities.

You can find the full article here.

UNESCO Cities Platform Meeting on transformative urban tourism

On June 25, 2020 the UNESCO hold a Cities Platform online meeting and discussed various cities’ responses to COVID-19. There was also a special panel which focused on the pandemic’s impact on urban tourism:

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, it has had an unprecedented impact on travel with the closing of virtually all destinations worldwide. Tourism was a major source of growth, employment and income for many of the world’s developing countries with over 1.5 billion people crossing international borders in 2019. Yet, millions of jobs in the travel and tourism sector are being lost every day and up to 120 million are under immediate threat.

You can find a video of the full online meeting here. The special session on transformative city tourism starts about 2:41:00.