Author ORCID Identifier



Global tourism was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but an exception can be seen among walking tour companies providing tours for locals in Budapest, who saw a rise in demand for their tours during the summer and early autumn of 2020. During pre-pandemic times tourism levels broke records annually, and one of the main concerns was overtourism in certain cities, but due to COVID-19, international arrivals hit record-lows and millions of jobs became endangered. Meanwhile data show that local alternative walking tours in Budapest could operate sustainably during the pandemic at almost the same capacity as before, because local residents started to discover their own neighbourhoods. In the time of social and physical distancing walking tours proved to be a viable solution for locals to discover the city in safe ways. Academic research on guided walking tours is getting more attention in the past decades, focusing on several subjects such as the role of the guide or the value of co-creation, but less attention is given to the new phenomenon of proximity tourism, where local residents participate in experiences originally designed for visitors. The aim of this paper is to investigate why thematic walking tours are in such a high demand among residents of Budapest, and how these local tours can provide a resilient proximity tourism product during the pandemic.





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