1st Edition

The Challenge of Tourism Carrying Capacity Assessment Theory and Practice

By Harry Coccossis, Alexandra Mexa Copyright 2004

    Planning and management for tourism growth is becoming essential in the context of sustainable development. Particularly so since many tourist destinations are facing severe pressures from tourist flows and activities. Such pressures are evidenced in terms of dysfunctions (congestion, environmental degradation, etc) which ultimately affect the attraction and competitiveness of tourism destinations. The development of tourism should be considered in accordance with sustainability principles. In this context respecting the capacity of the local system to sustain growth becomes a key challenge. This book examines the use of various tools to define, measure and evaluate tourism carrying capacity (TCC) - a tool aiming to impose limits for entering certain tourist destinations or using certain activities. Drawing on case studies from France, Spain, Italy, Greece, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Finland, it presents practical experiences of implementing TCC in various tourist destinations (i.e. historic towns, coastal zones, islands, etc). It draws conclusions regarding the measurement and implementation of TCC assessment and provides further guidelines towards a comprehensive methodological framework for assessing tourism sustainability in the future.

    Contents: Part I: Methodological Issues in Respect to Defining, Measuring and Evaluating Tourism Carrying Capacity: Sustainable tourism and carrying capacity: a new context, Harry Coccossis; Theoretical reflections on limits, efficiency and sustainability: implications for tourism carrying capacity, Giorgos Kallis and Harry Coccossis; Tourism carrying capacity: a theoretical overview, Alexandra Mexa and Harry Coccossis; Tourism carrying capacity: methodological considerations, Harry Coccossis and Alexandra Mexa; The use of various tools for implementing tourism carrying capacity, Alexandra Mexa; The implementation of tourism carrying capacity: policy instruments at the European Union level, Jan van der Straaten. Part II: Defining and Implementing Tourism Carrying Capacity in Selected Types of Tourist Destinations: Issues in applying carrying capacity concepts: examples from the United Kingdom, Richard W. Butler; Tourism carrying capacity in areas of ecological importance, Thymio Papayannis; Tourism management and carrying capacity in heritage cities and sites, Jan van der Borg; Tourism carrying capacity in Mediterranean coastal tourist destinations, Ivica Trumbic; Tourism carrying capacity assessment in islands, Apostolos Parpairis; Tourism carrying capacity and public participation: the methodology used in the case of the Island of Rhodes, Greece, Michael Scoullos; Managing the impacts of tourism in European destinations: using carrying capacity, Alexandra Mexa and Anna Collovini; Tourism carrying capacity: future issues and policy considerations, Harry Coccossis and Alexandra Mexa; Place index; Subject index.


    Harry Coccossis is Professor of Urban, Spatial and Environmental Planning in the Department of Planning and Regional Development at the University of Thessaly, Greece, and Dr Alexandra Mexa is a Lecturer in the Department of Marine Sciences, at the University of the Aegean, Greece.

    ’There is much controversy around the principle and practice of tourism carrying capacity assessments. This is a timely book for anyone interested in that debate as it provides a valuable focus on practical approaches and methodologies...’ Dr Bill Bramwell, Sheffield Hallam University, UK and Co-Editor, Journal of Sustainable Tourism ’Aimed at final year under and postgraduate students of tourism economics and planning as well as public sector and private sector practitioners, this book presents [an] essential synthetic approach to developing within this growing sector.’ Professor François Vellas, University of Toulouse, France ’...a timely addition to the growing literature on the subject also known to tourism scholars as the concept of Limits of Acceptable Change and Growth Management Strategies.’ Tourism Recreation Research