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Jan Henrik Nilsson.

Jan-Henrik Nilsson

Universitetslektor, docent

Jan Henrik Nilsson.

Alternative tourism mobilities and urban spatial change

Alternativ turism och urban rumslig förändring


  • Jan-Henrik Nilsson

Summary, in Swedish

One of the most important trends in contemporary tourism is the increase in urban tourism, both in absolute and in relative terms. An increasing number of cities have become significant tourism destinations. Cities also attract an increasingly diverse set of visitors, some of which could be called alternative tourists. The development of alternative tourism is related to decreasing relative costs of travel, e.g. low-cost aviation, and increasingly accessible forms of cheap accommodation, such as Airbnb. We have also seen evidence of non-traditional forms of intra-urban tourism mobilities in many cities, for example new forms of guided tours. These forms of tourist activities are sometimes referred to as examples of innovative sustainable tourism.
Along with the general expansion of urban tourism and the emergence of new forms of tourist activities, larger parts of urban space become affected by tourism. Thus, tourism takes up more urban space and becomes an agent of urban spatial change. In many European cities the impact of alternative tourism is particularly visible in former working class districts located outside the traditional tourist business districts. Well-known examples are parts of East London and Kreuzberg in Berlin.
The purpose of this presentation is to discuss how alternative tourism mobilities affect spatial patterns of tourism in an urban context. The discussion is based on studies of guided tours on foot and on bicycle, taking place in Copenhagen, Berlin, Tallinn and Warsaw. In will be argued that these activities contribute to opening up new urban areas for tourism. The alternative tourism mobilities become parts of emerging networks, involving other forms of alternative tourism such as food spaces and accommodation; also influencing urban images and place marketing processes. The development of alternative tourism clearly follows a set of global trends, connected among other things to hipster culture. There are however also important path dependencies transforming the trends to local circumstances, i.e. making them “glocal”.


  • Institutionen för tjänstevetenskap






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Tourism
  • Gentrification
  • Guided tours

Conference name

Atlas Annual Conference, Copenhagen 2018

Conference date

2018-09-27 - 2018-09-29

Conference place

Copenhagen, Denmark