Exploring the Non-Economic Impacts of Tourism and Hospitality on the Health and Well-Being of Residents


  • Michael Lever Fairleigh Dickinson University


Non-Economic Tourism Impacts, Resident Health and Well-being, Content Analysis


Hospitality and tourism activities improve infrastructure, attract domestic and international investment, protect and promote regional cultural assets, and aid the local economy. However, the rapid development of hospitality and tourism can also lead to environmental depletion, cultural erosion, increased cost of living, persistent stress, and economic inequality. Existing literature has emphasized tourism's economic and socio-cultural impacts on residents. Yet research regarding the non-economic impacts on residents remains limited. The study aims to assess hospitality and tourism's non-economic impact on residents' health and well-being. This qualitative study employs content analysis using a two-phase process. In Phase 1, 32 newspaper articles were coded and analyzed. From this, six themes emerged: (i) returning to normalcy, (ii) attitudes toward tourist development, (iii) crisis management approaches, (iv) wellness travel sub-types, (v) traveller coping approaches and (vi) environmental challenges. Each theme relates to three perspectives: residents, guests, and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). This process was repeated in Phase 2 for comments within the Reddit social media platform, where 66 descriptive codes were grouped into 14 pattern codes based on the context identified from the first phase. Results from the Reddit comments analysis revealed three major discourse themes related to the three perspectives: COVID-19, sustainability, and mental health. This research broadens our understanding of residents’ health and well-being perspectives when designing tourism-related products and activities. Several recommendations for DMOs and tourism service operators are provided, including cultural tourism, visitor dispersion strategies, and eco-friendly tour programs as opportunities to address and overcome the concerns identified through the analysis. Each recommendation encourages stronger ties between DMOs and residents, explicitly focusing on strengthening their attitudes towards tourists, implementing increased safety procedures, and overcoming the adverse effects of over-tourism on residents. 

Author Biography

Michael Lever, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Michael W. Lever is an Assistant Professor in the International School of Hospitality, Sports, and Tourism Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Vancouver, Canada. Prior to joining FDU, he was a Sessional Lecturer and Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Guelph, where he completed his Ph.D. He holds a B.Comm (Honours) degree from Ontario Tech University and an M.Sc. from the University of Ottawa. He has industry experience working as a Market Researcher for The Nielsen Company and through his collaboration with Destination Canada.

Dr. Lever is a motivated researcher with both qualitative and quantitative research abilities, including latent class analysis, structural equation modeling, netnography, and eye-tracking study design. His research program incorporates his background in the areas of consumer behavior, management, and marketing and applies it to concepts in tourism, particularly those of destination image and place branding. In so doing, he hopes to understand how these related areas may influence both destination marketing practices and tourism and place theory.

His work has been published in several highly ranked journals (both A and A* based on the ABDC Journal Quality List), such as Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, Journal of Vacation Marketing, and International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

He is the recipient of multiple sources of internal and external funding, grants, and awards, including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage Grant ($24,741), Destination Canada Research Grant ($10,000), and Gordon S. Lang Experiential Learning Fund ($7,950).

Dr. Lever is currently serving as a reviewer on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Travel Research, and as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Canada Chapter Board.