Touristiciation, smartization, and social sustainalibility in European regions


Anna Bornioli and Susan Vermeulen have published a research letter with partners from the European Project on touristification and smartization processes on social sustainability. This study is part of the European project SMARTDEST funded by Horizon 2020. Read more about this research here!

There are multiple urban development strategies which are used to support economic growth, such as touristification and smartization. However, the impact on social issues is rarely considered when looking at these developments. People tend to discuss the direction of the effects and if there is an effect at all.

To check for this, the researchers examined the effects of tourism and smartization on a share of the population in poverty using data from Eurostat, EU-SILC from 2013 and 2018 for NUTS2 regions in euro, differentiating for age group and residence type (e.g. living in cities, towns or rural areas).

Various associations

The associations show that a lower tourism specialization is associated with a lower share of population in poverty compared to an average tourism specialization. However, there is no significant difference between regions that have an “average” or “high” specialization in tourism. The region's “smartness” is negatively associated with the share of poverty. Therefore, a smarter region seems to be associated with a less share of poverty. The researchers controlled for factors, such as housing burden, regional GDP, and income for rent in the model.

Initial insights

This model gives initial insights into these issues. The results highlight the complexity and challenges in establishing sustainable and socially equitable regional development strategies in European tourism regions. However, we still lack adequate data to support further investigation. New relevant data sources might become available in the future to continue this investigation.

The full article is available at

Involved UPT researchers

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