Most studies that examine tourism impacts and community attitudes have been carried out from the perspective of the tourism sector as a whole, with very few papers focusing on specific types of tourism and/or analysing tourists' preferences for specific types of tourism segment. This paper discusses some pertinent issues in relation to cruise tourism development and community attitudes in a port of call cruise destination located in the island of Sicily (Southern Italy). Specifically, this study was carried out using a quota random sample of 1500 responses, which is representative of the population of Messina at 1% level. Findings show that residents express an overall positive attitude towards cruise tourism development even if it is not the most preferred when compared to other types of tourism (cultural tourism, sport tourism, and sun and sea tourism). Further, they highlight that significant differences based on socio-economic and demographic characteristics (age, gender, reliance on cruise-related employment, level of education, geographical proximity to tourist areas and port, length of residency and frequency of interaction with tourists) exist in residents' perceptions and attitudes towards cruise tourism development. Implications for policy-makers are discussed and suggestions for further research are given.
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