Theses Master's

Tourism and Its Economic Impact in Italy: A Study of Industry Concentration and Quality of Life

Branchini, Ariana

This thesis analyzes the impact that tourism's concentrated regional industrial growth has on citizens' quality of life in Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. A careful examination of tourist destinations suggests that the promotion of the tourism industry might lead to negative externalities such as increased pressure on urban facilities and scattering of local human capital and economic resources. In order to maintain a city's culture, art and heritage, regional governments and private institutions have promoted these assets for consumption by visitors. Paradoxically, in many cases, this has put valued cultural assets at risk of degradation and has eroded the quality of life for local residents. This thesis will evaluate the ability of tourism to provide a sustainable solution for economic development, as measured by its ability to contribute to citizens' accessibility to a high quality of life. By examining Italy's top four tourist destinations, I will consider the relative market share of tourism-related industries in the provinces that encompass these cities. In addition to market share, quality of life indicators including household assessment of change in economic situation, employment levels and educational achievement will be used to assess the hypothesis that over-investment in tourism leads to a homogenous industrial structure and lower quality of life for citizens. From this research it is evident that tourism and higher quality of life are related in these four cities when measuring unemployment rates and household assessment of change in economic situation. Low levels of educational attainment demonstrate one way tourism may lead to lower quality of life where industry concentration is greater. Tourism can spur economic development and bring income to places with natural and cultural resources that can be shared. However, commodifying these resources leaves places vulnerable in a number of ways that provincial governments must consider.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Beauregard, Robert
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 16, 2015