عنوان مقاله [English]
Cities are selected as tourist destinations due to the diverse array of primary and secondary attractions. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) classifies this form of tourism activity conducted within urban spaces as urban tourism. This type of tourism significantly contributes to the development of cities, as numerous urban areas today attract a substantial number of tourists. From a developmental perspective, the tourism industry is viewed as a valuable tool for local development, providing a positive response to adverse economic changes. In recent years, there has been a notable surge in interest in urban tourism research, with urban tourism evolving into an integral component of tourism studies. Some even argue that it has transformed into a “distinct phenomenon and research field.” Despite this, few publications and authors have offered clear definitions of urban tourism. To address this gap, this research employs bibliometric and illustrative methods to conduct a quantitative review of the literature on urban tourism. The objective is not only to present a comprehensive overview of this field but also to identify research trends and highlight key research topics for consideration by active researchers in the field. In essence, this study aims to unveil the quantitative publication process of scientific productions in urban tourism research, including citation patterns, noteworthy articles, influential journals, prominent authors, active countries, and leading universities in this domain. Additionally, it seeks to identify frequent keywords, outline the conceptual structure within this field, and ultimately introduce research topics that hold significance for researchers engaged in urban tourism studies.
Materials and Methods
The current research adopts a descriptive-analytical approach and employs the bibliometric method to investigate the progress and development in the field of urban tourism. The bibliometric method offers advantages in objective analysis and knowledge discovery, facilitated through the use of visual representations. The Web of Science database and its subcategories were chosen for article retrieval and review, focusing on titles, abstracts, and relevant keywords within the research literature. Initially, 1155 articles were retrieved from the database, and subsequently, specific criteria and filters were applied. These criteria included limiting article types to research and review types and restricting the language to English to enhance output quality. This process resulted in 706 articles remaining for analysis. To visualize the data, the data were entered into the VOS viewer software, which illustrates patterns in the field of study. Additionally, the software facilitated co-authorship and keyword co-occurrence analysis, contributing to the clustering of knowledge and the identification of main themes.
According to the findings, there has been a consistent upward trend in the publication of articles since 2006, continuing to the present and reaching its zenith in 2020 with 111 articles. The citation of articles within this field has also experienced a steady increase, peaking at 2727 citations in 2021. Notably, the article titled “Urban Tourism Researches: Recent Progress and Current Paradoxes,” authored by Ashworth and Page and published in the Tourism Management Journal in 2011, holds the distinction of being the most cited article in this field, accumulating 490 citations. Ashworth and Page further emerge as the most cited authors in this field, with the publication of this influential article and a total link strength of 427. The Tourism Management Journal stands out as the most cited journal in the field of urban tourism, boasting 2095 citations for its articles. The findings also highlight England as the most cited country in this field, amassing 2035 citations, coupled with the highest link strength. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University claims the top position among universities in this field, accumulating 625 citations and a total link strength of 169. Upon examination of the most frequent words and the subsequent exploration of the conceptual structure and research streams within this field, a keyword co-occurrence analysis was conducted. Words such as “urban tourism,” “tourism,” and “over-tourism” were identified as the most frequent. Additionally, the analysis revealed that fundamental topics in this research field include urban tourism, cities, heritage, and places. In recent years, emerging topics such as over-tourism, sustainability, gentrification, peer-to-peer accommodation, and smart tourism have gained attention in research within this field.
The findings of this research confirm the identification of the latest trends. One of the prevailing research trends in urban tourism that has garnered significant attention is over-tourism. Recognized as a prominent urban issue, over-tourism poses a threat to the overall tourism experience and the positive reputation of destinations. This phenomenon has manifested due to the excessive influx of tourists, particularly in European countries, a concern that did not gain widespread discussion until 2017. The heightened density and concentration of tourists adversely impact the daily lives of residents, leading to issues such as transportation challenges, increased prices, and difficulties in accessing services and retail facilities. Moreover, the presence of tourists in certain destinations raises housing demand, resulting in higher costs and, consequently, the displacement of lower-income residents, exacerbating the problem of gentrification. Commercial gentrification, the displacement of local businesses by foreign brands, and the disruption of the social and economic fabric of neighborhoods due to the growth of tourist rentals as a business are significant consequences that threaten the well-being of urban facilities for the local population. A key solution to address urban problems and over-tourism is smart tourism. Analyzing factors such as travel motivations, travel times, and traffic can empower stakeholders to make informed decisions, optimizing and enhancing tourist attraction to destinations. Smart tourism is also closely tied to sustainability, a crucial aspect in this field, contributing to the sustainable development of urban tourism destinations. Another notable trend in urban tourism is the rise of peer-to-peer accommodations, or in other words shared accommodations, such as couch surfing, driven by technological advancements. Moreover, While China and the United States lead in terms of social structure, European countries have been at the forefront of research in this area. However, a comprehensive review and comparison of tourism literature with scientific developments in urban tourism reveal existing research gaps. Over-tourism has emerged as a pressing issue for tourist destinations, necessitating further investigation into its impact on the tourist experience, its influence on decision-making in the pre-trip stage, and how to anticipate this problem in developing countries within the tourism domain. Additionally, there is a need for research exploring the impact of overtourism on other types of tourists, such as religious tourists in urban areas, given the collective nature of certain events. Despite the ongoing research efforts, the current literature lacks detailed case studies related to urban tourists’ experiences with technologies and the provision of personalized services. Future research should delve into the role of smart tourism in urban settings, particularly examining the active participation and co-creation of value by tourists in smart tourism initiatives. Furthermore, the assessment of cities’ carrying capacity and sustainability, especially in emerging destinations, should be a focal point. The developments spurred by individual accommodations also warrant exploration, including the dynamics of tourist-host relations, motivations, preferences, needs, and the overall experience of this specific group of tourists. These areas represent crucial avenues for further investigation in the realm of urban tourism.