Tourism Mobility in Urban Areas
F Potier, INRETS, FR
Since the eighties, tourism has been one of the economic forces for most European countries. The big increase in tourist flows has been accompanied by quick changes in behaviour. The latter show a strong progression of short breaks that causes an important growth of tourist flows towards cities, the main destinations of this type of tourism.
Urban tourism, a fully developing activity, has become a real prize economically and plays a more and more important part in local, regional and european development policies (city planning, environment, employment). However, its growth brings about functional and organisational difficulties. Among other things, the urban management of the flows has to be different at least at certain times of the year : important occasional flows which may have already reached saturation. This is amplified by the fact that tourists have different needs from those of the city's permanent residents. This management most certainly implements local strategies whose aim is to increase the quality and the radiance of the city but the strategies are not easy to launch.
Managers and people who are in change of tourism and transport must bring new actions to these new needs; they have to know these new behaviours with the satisfactions as well as the profiles of corresponding populations.
Nevertheless, there's practically no data on urban tourism. The simple fact of collecting these statistics causes various problems, particularly a semantic one (the definitions of "tourism" and " urban" are blurred) as well as a methodological one ( the tourist trips relate to non daily travel they are not regular and imply longitudinal surveys; morever, these trips test memory of the interviewees ).
INRETS conducted one national survey in France about the behaviours pertaining to urban tourism. This survey was carried out face to face in people's homes for a sample of 3500 people representative of the French population over 18. The interviewees were questioned about their pratices of urban tourism, what their needs are as tourists, how satisfied they were after a stay in a city they visited. The results of the survey allow one to focus on the global demand (existing or potential) and to know the mobility of tourist in the urban area.
Association for European Transport