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This study aims to examine the main factors and the related impacts that have caused a negative shift in the social perception of tourism among residents of Barcelona. Namely, it contextualises the recent evolution of the impacts and the social perception of tourism among the city’s residents; analyses the relationship between the social perception of tourism and different tourist, real estate, demographic and economic factors; and lastly, it identifies the social impacts that majorly influence the negative perception among residents in every neighbourhood.Design/methodology/approachThis study applies quantitative and qualitative techniques to a selection of five neighbourhoods of Barcelona. First, the character of the neighbourhoods was analysed, and external statistical information was later provided to understand the state and evolution of the factors that shape perceptions of tourism. Secondly, representatives of the community movements were interviewed in-depth. This consecutive qualitative approach enabled the comprehension of how these factors shape the residents’ perception.FindingsThe results showed that residents generally shared similar perceptions despite variations among neighbourhoods. Perceived negative effects included not only the most direct consequences of tourism such as anti-social behaviour and congestion of public spaces but also indirect ones such as population displacement and the weakening of social structures.Originality/valueThis study’s innovation lies in linking objective statistical data that describe the reality of a tourist neighbourhood (housing prices, number of available beds, family income, etc.), to the subjective perceptions of its residents. Thus, it is possible to identify the perceived impacts of tourism (which have an impact on the local population’s satisfaction), and relate these to the true evolution of tourism variables in the neighbourhood. This contrasted reading between perception and reality is important for future initiatives for the regulation of tourism in the city.
International Journal of Tourism Cities – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 10, 2022
Keywords: Conflict; Sustainable tourism; Barcelona; Social impacts; Residents’ perception
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