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WTCF study on urban tourism names opportunities and challenges

In the ten years prior to 2017, city tourism grew by more than 50 per cent worldwide said Esencan Terzibasoglu, Special Advisor to the General Secretary of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in her keynote at the ITB City Tourism Forum. Whereby Ms Terzibasoglu prefers to speak of ‘urban’ over city tourism, as the trend is to include the respective hinterland. This happens in order to offer tourists more diversity, but also to provide some relief to the cities themselves, which already accommodate about 55 per cent of the world’s population.

15 cities of different sizes participated in the study done by the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF). They all offer numerous attractions, from art and culture to gastronomy and shopping. However, in addition to their size and marketing, they all differ in their individual approaches to transport, sustainability and safety concepts. Interviews were conducted with representatives of the 15 destinations and two workshops also took place in Tianjin and Buenos Aires in 2017. This created an overview of the relevant approaches of different cities such as Antwerp, which stands out due to its already exemplary networking of transport and tourism, Beijing, which currently needs massive investment in transport infrastructure, and Bogota. Next to the export of oil, Colombia relies heavily on diversified tourism, as an economic mainstay and is, therefore, developing a hinterland concept for Bogota.

According to Ms Terzibasoglu, every participant in the study also wants to develop the sharing or digital economy, whereby they must not lose sight of fair competition, consumer protection, working conditions, and sustainability.

Robert Kluge

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