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Urban

tourism research: Recent progress and current paradoxes


Gregory Ashworth, Stephen J. Page (2010): Urban tourism research: Recent progress and current
paradoxes. Tourism Management, 32(1), pp. 1-15

Reflection and adoption of the findings of the article to the city Vienna, written by Lisa Hammertinger


People visit tourism cities for various different reasons and make use of the facilities and
services of them. Vienna is a well-developed city with excellent infrastructure, remarkable
cultural value and endless possibilities for residents and tourists. Most of the facilities
provided are not specifically created for tourists, which makes it very difficult to distinct
between a local and a tourist. However, Viennas 5.8 million tourist arrivals and 12.7 million
overnights in the year 2013 (b2b.wien.info) prove its popularity. Viennas economy certainly
benefits from these arrivals, but the city is not completely dependent on the tourism sector.
Around 80% of Viennas added value is created by the service economy, the most important
branches being trade, academic and technical services, real estate and the production of
goods. (www.wien.gv.at) Mentionable at this point is, that tourism is a cross-sectional
matter that is influenced by and contributes to many economic sectors. This makes it
particularly hard to define who in fact manages tourism in a city like Vienna. There is of
course the Vienna Tourism Board that promotes Viennas imperial heritage, its music and art
scene, its image of being a city of enjoyment and its balance of urban and green spaces.
(www.vienna.info) The difficulty is that most of the visitors make use of so many different
facilities often no distinctive ones than local residents and at the same time make
exclusive use of hardly anything. Cities like Vienna with different strong economic sectors
gain the most from tourism and they need it as well. It is not only important for Vienna itself,
but also for the whole destination Austria as the Vienna International Airport, which was
redesigned and enlarged recently, is a major hub in Austria especially for international
arrivals. Vienna provides the only international airport in Austria and a lot of the tourists that
enter Austria at the Vienna International Airport are not necessarily visitors of Vienna, but
are actually attracted by non-urban tourism experiences. Due to the provided infrastructure
in Vienna they often still inevitably spend time in the city. All this indicates that not only
Vienna needs tourism, but also Austrias tourism industry needs Vienna. The article also
mentions the growth of urban tourism on the peripheries of cities and also the development
of cultural districts phenomena are also noticeable in Vienna, as some areas and districts

of the city got over time very trendy and a potential tourism attraction, like the in former
times less well known or visited Brunnenmarkt in the 16th district. These developments also
show tourists capriciousness that is mentioned by Ashworth and Page (2010). They suggest
that cities are very vulnerable when it comes to shifts in visitors life styles or tastes and that
particular districts or a whole city can be in for some time and then pass when preferences
and trends change. The tourist city, as suggested by Ashworth and Page (2010), is something
that cant be easily recognized and is like Vienna often grouped into districts and zones that
are connected by the possibility to pursuit amongst others pleasure and consumption
experiences. As Ashworth and Page (2010) also mention, tourists mostly only use very
limited space in a city and often dont even reach most of the areas. These spaces are often
the main attractions of a city, in Viennas case for example the state opera house, the Saint
Stephens Cathedral, the Ring Street and many more. The average time visitors spent in
Vienna in the year 2013 was 2.2 days (www.wien.gv.at), whereas in the rural dominated rest
of Austria it was 3,6 days (www.statistik.at) This shorter time tourists spend in the city might
also be a reason for the limited spaces tourists are actually visiting. As mentioned by
Ashworth and Page (2010), this rapidity is a characteristic that is not easy to manage. Still,
they also mention that the tourism perspective is often neglected from geographers,
planners and people working in urban studies. However, a neglect of tourism by urban
studies becomes according to Ashworth and Page (2010) to a certain extent excusable as
tourists dont behave distinctly and the tourism as a whole is not only not something that
can be isolated as a certain set of facilities or a specific function, but the tourism industry
is hardly identifiable altogether.


References

Ashworth, G./Page, S. (2010): Urban tourism research: recent progress and current
paradoxes. Tourism Management, 32(1), pp. 1-15

Magistrat der Stadt Wien (2012):
https://www.wien.gv.at/statistik/wirtschaft/volkswirtschaft/

Magistrat der Stadt Wien (2014):
https://www.wien.gv.at/statistik/wirtschaft/tabellen/uebern-laender-zr.html

Statistik Austria (2014):
http://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/tourismus/beherbergung/ankuenfte_naechtigu
ngen/index.html

Wien Tourismus: www.vienna.info

Wien Tourismus: http://b2b.wien.info/de/statistik/daten/naechtigungen-2013