Mass tourism has not only hit certain destinations but also museums have experienced its effects. In recent years, superstar museums have seen how visitor’s flows have been unceasingly increasing at the same time as tourism was being popularised as well. The present thesis seeks to delve into the reaction capacity of museums in relation to the management of large masses of visitors. Therefore, the research question addressed is focused on to what extent are museums capable to deal with mass tourism and the consequent crowd. Since museums became tourist attractions, their success is closely related to the number of international visitors coming to the city. Therefore, the relevance of the relation between museums and municipalities is significant when facing such a challenging issue. In such a way, a comparative case study has been done to find out the measures and strategies undertaken by two museums and two cities in particular: the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and the Picasso Museum (Barcelona, Spain). The research consisted of interviewing eleven middle managers from the museums and policymakers from the municipalities in order to see first-hand what is being done in relation to overcrowding and congestion. In addition, strategic plans and reports from both cities were analysed to support the testimonies of the respondents and to contextualise the municipalities’ management. Apart from these qualitative data, the visitor’s numbers of the last eight years were provided by both museums too. The analysis of the data collected drove the research to find some strategies and measures in common between the two museums and both cities. On the one side, the municipalities have designed integral plans to soften the nuisances caused by tourism by prioritising the liveability of their urban spaces. In this regard, they are working to find solutions involving all the stakeholders implicated. Therefore, in this integrated strategy museums are included. On the other side, the two analysed museums have implemented several measures and they have studied thoroughly the phenomenon and their audiences. Among the measures considered by both museums, the online ticketing stands above the rest because it made disappear the long queues to buy tickets and it spread the visitors throughout the day thanks to the time-slotted tickets. Moreover, the reduction of the museums’ maximum capacity improved the visitors’ experience and diminished the bottlenecks originated in the building. Secondarily, museums are working to soften seasonality and the accumulation of visitors at certain peak hours of the day. Finally, in line with the audience analysis they carry out, they are completely aware of the unbalanced ratio of locals and international visitors they host, and measures have been taken to attract residents. Nevertheless, this is a long-term goal and the strategies focused on that do not give immediate results. On this basis, the thesis concludes that tourism needs to be managed in cooperation of all the agents implied to get to proper solutions. Museums for their part have come to soften the pressure of visitors in their buildings but there is still room for improvement.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cultural Economics, Cultural Entrepreneurship, congestion, overcrowding, municipalities, cultural tourism, superstar museums
Thesis Advisor A. Mignosa
Persistent URL
Series Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship , Master Arts, Culture & Society
B. Subirà Beas. (2019, June 11). Museums, tourism and crowds.. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from