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  • Extending the Frontiers of City Tourism: Suburbs and the Real London

    Robert Maitland

    Chapter from the book: Smith A. & Graham A. 2019. Destination London: The Expansion of the Visitor Economy.


    This chapter looks at the interaction between the very rapid growth in London’s international visitor numbers, the city’s changing economy and places, and tourists’ concern with authenticity. It draws on research on tourism in London and other World Tourism Cities, to show that many visitors seek the ‘real’ city and that synergies between tourists and residents are important in reconfiguring, reimagining and reimaging places. Tourism now thrives in once unfashionable areas of the inner city (for example, Brooklyn, New York City; Hoxton, London; Kreuzberg, Berlin). But as development pressures and tourism numbers increase, areas that were previously off the beaten track become incorporated into recognised tourism circuits and lose their distinctiveness. At the same time, shifting views about what constitutes ‘the tourist’ complicate the idea of a ‘real city’ that can be ‘discovered’ by visitors This means that ‘urban explorers’ must look further afield in their search for the ‘real’ places where they feel they can get ‘backstage’. The suburbs are such places - the site of London’s authentic everyday life, with many of the morphological qualities that urban explorers seek - yet they suffer from a relentlessly negative imagined geography. However their appeal will grow for urban explorers and tactical tourists keen to escape the commercially appropriated city.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Maitland, R. 2019. Extending the Frontiers of City Tourism: Suburbs and the Real London. In: Smith A. & Graham A (eds.), Destination London. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book35.b

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    Published on May 21, 2019