September 9, 2019

Dr. Christopher Gaffney - Overtourism Project

Dr. Christopher Gaffney tells us more about the overtourism project he is currently working on. He teaches research methods in the undergraduate and graduate programs.


Can you provide an overview of your overtourism project?

Overtourism has been in the news a lot lately, especially in places like Barcelona, Venice, Versailles, Iceland, and even national parks in the United States. However, there is no accepted or consistent way to measure or identify overtourism. The idea around this project is to take some standard measurements and apply them to tourist sites around the world to see if places are ‘over-touristed’ or at risk of becoming so. Once that identification is made, the project will aim to come up with solutions to try to address these problems on a global scale.

How did you initially become interested in this topic?

Last year I traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is one of the sites that has been identified as over-touisted and after traveling there, I can say that is in fact the case. There doesn't seem to be any good way of preventing it or measuring it. Based on my trip there, it got me thinking about this idea. This project is very important as overtourism will end up destroying some of these travel destinations.

What sort of impact does this project have for you?

This is a long-term project that will involve my students and will be an anchor project for the Tisch Center. It will also involve a number of different faculty. That being said, it’s an interdisciplinary, globally-facing project and for that, I am very excited.

How does this project have an impact on your teaching?

I’m incorporating this project into my research methods courses which will help to train students on research methods in tourism. It will be bringing students into the project and it will be a collaborative teaching and learning effort.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This project is still in its early stages and needs to be tested in a number of places. As we talk with stakeholders around the world, we will develop and refine these measurements and will hopefully launch a public-facing website with a continually updated index sometime in 2020.

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