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Overtourism and undertourism: ICT in island development policy


Tourism is an important source of revenue and employment for islands, those special clusters and fragile contexts inde- pendent from mainland countries (Ruggieri & Vazquez, 2017). But growth and development brought to an island by tourism could unexpectedly reach an excess known as overtourism, to the detriment of its local community and environment. Many factors explain why overtourism impacts the environment. A new sustainable approach to development is necessary, based on quantitative and qualitative indicators and a broad awareness of the need to preserve and value local resources (Ruggieri & Vazquez, 2017). This should consist of tools and strategies aimed at reaching a level of optimal development, avoiding the negative effects of tourist flows, and encouraging a new tourist distribu- tion in underused periods of the calendar year. Technology is a key tool for analysis and goal-directed methods. Information and communications technology (ICT) can help the tourism industry improve its management and promotion of destinations, especially regarding issues of tourist flows and sustainable development, for example, in cities such as Venice (Seraphin et al., 2018) and Dubrovnik (Carić & Mackelworth, 2014). Monitoring tourism impacts and characteristics is of prime importance when con- sidering and maintaining the correct pressure, avoiding the detrimental effects of tourist flow, and finding new opportunities for a local industry’s expansion (Chen, 2006; Craig- well & Maurin, 2007; Griffith, 2002; Sharpley, 2003). While a destination’s transformation from luxury to mass tourism may benefit some businesses, it could have a negative impact on locals and their environment if not managed well since all of the same prod- ucts available to tourists are available to locals. At the same time, this creates a favourable environment for tourism expansion and a high percentage of repeat visitors.