The dynamics between tourism and mobility are analyzed in this paper taking account of the changes the tourism sector is undergoing. This paper has been presented in the framework of High Level Trainings on Sustainable Mobility, which were organized in the framework of the Urban Transports Community, as part of of the transfer and capitalization activities of the GO SUMP project.

(Rome, 8 November 2019) “Transport speeds have increased in recent years, allowing to go further in the same amount of time. Transportation costs have fallen as a result of technology and new low-cost business models. But in addition, tourists have begun to travel longer distances in tighter periods of time, increasing the total amount of kilometres travelled at the end of the season.” wrote Mr. Eduard J Alvarez Palau, student in economics and business Studies at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in his working paper entitled “Is it Feasible to Integrate Tourism into Sustainable Mobility Systems? Reflections based on Current Academic Debates”. This paper has been presented in the framework of High Level Trainings on Sustainable Mobility, which were organized in the framework of the Urban Transports Community, as part of of the transfer and capitalisation activities of the GO SUMP project. The trainings took place in June 2019 and were coordinated by MedCities.

In this working paper, the author analyzes how the evolution of tourism changes the dynamics between tourism and mobility. Through this, he reinforces the idea that sustainable mobility systems should take account of these changes in relation to tourism, and assess whether such integration is feasible.

The notion of mobility is included in the very definition of tourist given by the World Tourism Organisation. As the author notes, “the concept of tourism in itself already requires a displacement between an origin and a destination place”, which explains the importance of integrating tourism in mobility systems and vice versa. It is on this basis that the author develops a three-part analysis, assessing, first, the displacement tourists make to reach the destination, second, the urban mobility used by this same tourist during their stays, and third, the sustainability of the system as a whole.

In the first part of his work, Mr. Eduard J Alvarez Palau provides the answer to diverse questions such as: how does the geography of a place affect tourist mobility, what characteristics does tourist transport demand have and can transport boost tourism. In the second part of his work, he focuses on the correlation between tourism and public transport, on how visitors decide their mode of urban transport and how cities plan tourist mobility. These elements are analyzed in a view to reach a feasibility assessment of the integration of tourism in sustainable mobility systems.

This feasibility assessment is of particular importance for ensuring a better and more sustainable urban mobility in tourist destinations, and this is why a course on "Mobility & Tourism Nexus" was organized and attended by pioneering experts in the fields of regulations and strategies on urban tourism mobility. Methodological concepts and experiences in municipal management of urban tourist mobility in the Mediterranean were presented. Challenges, opportunities and recommendations for the improvement of urban mobility in Mediterranean cities were provided on the occasion of such high-level course. Transferring of sustainable mobility practices and policies were also addressed, something on which you could learn more in the GOSUMP replication manual.

You can access the full paper here.

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