2023 Community Sentiment of Tourism : Annual Report

Communities throughout the world have grappled with the positive and negative impacts of tourism for years. Oregon State University’s (OSU) Sustainable Tourism Lab was created in 2021 to support such global destinations and help them pursue a sustainable path – inclusive of economic, community, and environmental perspectives. Our first step in this process has been to quantify how communities feel about tourism. By conducting in-person and online surveys, focus groups, and interviews we collected data from the US Pacific Northwest region, including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Northern Marianas Islands. We received 2,342 survey responses and verified 2,105 as complete. We hypothesize that there is a strong relationship between the destination’s lifecycle stage and community sentiment and that community sentiment levels impact the community’s carrying capacity for tourism. Once community sentiment falls below neutral, the community acts—directly or indirectly via political entities—to reduce the carrying capacity of the destination as a whole.