Differing from much of the research on overtourism, which has concentrated on urban tourist destinations, this exploratory study investigates the attitudes of rural communities toward over-visitation. Face-to-face interviews with 63 respondents in three of the most visited Iranian villages reveal that tourism creates social, psychological and health problems for residents. Findings indicate that locals questioned the notion of tourism as a means of sustainable livelihood for local communities and on many occasions protest against tourism. Respondents also emphasized the failure of tourism authorities to manage overcrowding and called for public authority-community partnerships in managing visitation growth. Residents also regard the behaviours of tourists and their responses to local needs as having a significant role in better managing overtourism. Besides having significant practical implications for tourism stakeholders, this study adds knowledge to the overtourism and degrowth literature by drawing attention to overtourism in rural areas in developing economies with a focus on sustainable tourism planning. Management implications: The current study investigates the phenomenon of overtourism from the perspectives of ruralcommunity in popular rural tourism destinations. The paper has both practical and theoreticalcontribution by bringing the phenomenon of overtourism within the context of rural tourismwhich has been overlooked in the literature. It also echoes the concerns of local community overgrowth visitation and ascertains that unlike common beliefs in the mainstream literature, bignumbers do not necessarily bring significant benefits. The study further highlights that changingdestinations strategies and defining new roles for local community in managing overtourism isnecessary and tourism authorities should pay more attention to the priorities of local community.The findings of this research also recommend solutions to manage overtourism from theperspective of local community and calls the contribution of all industry players including visitors.
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