Short-term rentals: how much is too much - spatial patterns in Portugal and Lisbon

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Purpose - This paper analyses the growth of tourism in Portugal and in the municipality of Lisbon, with a focus on short-term rentals.
Design - The paper begins with the statistical background of the tourism boom that occurred in Portugal in the 2010s. The central part of the paper concentrates on an analysis of the spatial distribution of short-term rental properties, consisting of two parts: i) observation of spatial patterns in Portugal, by NUTS II region; ii) analysis of the municipality of Lisbon, which accounts
for 22% of all short-term rentals units registered in Portugal.
Methodology - The spatial analysis was carried out within GIS, using an approach based on spatial statistics, with research that involves geographic data and big data.
Approach - This study combines a qualitative and quantitative approach. It begins with a theoretical review on the growth of tourism and short-term rental in the last decade, followed by a quantitative-spatial analysis to the case of Portugal and the municipality of Lisbon, and ending with reflections that combine the results of the practical analysis with the most recent literature on the impacts of tourism in Lisbon Findings - The paper ends with some reflections on the excessive concentration of short-term rentals in urban areas and their positive and negative externalities on urban life. The results suggest that the city center presents the highest concentration of short-time rentals, but not the highest concentration of beds. It also shows that the excessive concentration of short-term rentals units may cause serious negative externalities that affect the quality of life in its multiple dimensions.
Originality - The results and the final discussion of this paper contributes to a greater knowledge of the spatial distribution of short-term rentals in Portugal and Lisbon and to debate the future of short-term rentals in cities that are among the world’s leading tourism destinations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-603
Number of pages23
JournalTourism and Hospitality Management
Issue number3
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Tourism
  • Urban tourism
  • Short-term rentals
  • Portugal
  • Lisbon
  • Overtourism


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