Journal article

Airbnb as an instigator of ‘tourism bubble’ expansion in Utrechts Lombok neighbourhood


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Publication Details

Author list: Röslmaier, Michael

Publication year: 2019

Start page: 822

End page: 840

Number of pages: 19

ISSN: 1461-6688


View additional information: View in Web of Science


The Airbnb phenomenon as part of the broader growth of the so-called collaborative economy has grabbed the attention of a growing number of tourism researchers. Among the topics explored have been investigations as to the spatial tendencies of Airbnb in cities and discussions concerning its effects, inter alia, on gentrification, over-touristification and eventual resident displacement. Recognizing that the majority of extant studies have been conducted either in major cities, which in their own right attract large numbers of visitors or in tourism-intensive smaller communities we chose to investigate what Airbnb growth means for a mid-sized city with a highly diversified economy, which is not yet over-touristified. Our focus was on the Dutch city of Utrecht. Through a geospatial and statistical analysis of AirDNA data, we explored the growth of Airbnbs in the city overall, focusing specifically on the phenomenons effects on the Lombok neighbourhood, a nascent ‘neo-bohemia’ neighbouring the city-centre tourist bubble. Our analysis reveals that although Airbnb activity in this neighbourhood is relatively recent there are signs suggesting that further touristification of parts of Lombok has ignited increased Airbnb activity. Moreover, there is a distance decay of Airbnb activity as one moves away from the city centre and from established tourism services including restaurants. These findings suggest that in an emerging neo-bohemian space such as Lombok, Airbnb takes on a role as instigator of urban tourism bubble expansion. The study ends with a call for further investigations to better understand the implications expanded Airbnb activity has, among others, on social justice within cities. For example, future investigations could examine the manner in which Airbnbs influence the everyday life of the residents of urban spaces and investigate the conflicts that might arise in Airbnb ghettoes between visitors and locals.


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