Expertise Network Sustainable Urban Tourism

Research Group
New Urban Tourism
All locations
Contact person
Iris Kerst

The goal of Expertise Network Sustainable Urban Tourism

The Expertise Network Sustainable Urban Tourism (ENSUT) is an initiative of the Creative Business Faculty of Inholland University of Applied Sciences. We investigate how tourism can add value to an urban area. We do this with a growing network of knowledge institutions, governments, businesses, residents, entrepreneurs, researchers and students.

ENSUT wants to provide a powerful answer to the question, "How can we (re)design urban tourism in a sustainable and resilient way?". There is a need from various disciplines and city governments to examine and redefine tourism from a systemic perspective. This way, it can be demonstrated what the added value of tourism can be to an urban area.

ENSUT is linked to Ko Koens' Research Group New Urban Tourism. Within this Research Group, urban sustainable tourism plays a major role. Ko Koens is also initiator of the network.

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How do we conduct this research?

ENSUT aims to meet these needs by engaging in smart collaborations and discovering innovative solutions. We do this at different scales. For example, we collaborate with international partners in projects like SmartCulTour and SMARTDEST. We are also visible in the middle of cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam through our Urban Leisure & Tourism Labs. We produce useful research reports as well as handy tools that entrepreneurs, municipalities and companies can use to get started themselves.

The concept of Sustainable Urban Tourism is based on the following core principles:

  • Improving the quality of life of the community at location
  • Providing high experiential value to urban users
  • Preserving and enhancing the quality of the natural environment on which both the community and visitors depend

By zooming in on these principles, ENSUT hopes to gain a better understanding of regenerative tourism and to provide tools to help further develop this concept. 

"With ENSUT, we hope to finally make real connections between the field, researchers and students. In this way, we want to contribute to a sustainable future, in which tourism contributes positively to society."

- Iris Kerst, Program Manager ENSUT

How do we involve the study programmes?

ENSUT involves the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab (ULT lab) in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Through these living labs, local research is conducted on the impact that tourism has on the neighborhoods where the living labs are located. In the ULT lab, we unite students, teachers and researchers from Inholland with those who have an interest in an attractive city: residents, visitors, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, knowledge institutions and governments.

For example, since 2018, students, teachers and (associate) professors have been collaborating with Fairbnb, a platform where travelers can book a resident’s accommodation. The aim is to make tourism fairer. Students in the ULT lab also work on creating awareness of food in the future and of the role of the city by developing an urban food concept.

More about the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab


What are the desired outcomes?

We expect the following results:

  • Capacity building: through events, workshops and support for institutions that want to start living labs in the field of leisure & tourism.
  • A top-of-the-notch toolbox: on ENSUT's platform, we would like to collect methods and toolboxes, so that we can offer the latest methods in the field of tourism.
  • Research: conducted in the field of the three themes mentioned above and through the Sustainable Urban Tourism Professor’s Platform (Lectorenplatform Duurzaam Stedelijk Toerisme).

More about preliminary results

How do we include the work field?

We collaborate with the work field through the following themes:

Regenerative Placemaking
The Regenerative Placemaking pillar works from a systemic perspective to understand and develop the visitor economy (in its broadest sense) in metropolitan regions in ways that enhance the quality of place and life, including through placemaking.

Smart Citizenship & Governance
The Smart Citizenship & Governance pillar focuses on the organisation of tourism. It aims to go beyond solutionism and participationism. This is done through constructively critical consideration of governance processes and ways to meaningfully engage stakeholders and encourage joint ownership.

Disruptive Innovations
Within the Disruptive Innovations pillar, the focus is on ways in which social and technological innovations contribute to changes in the visitor economy. It also works towards encouraging innovations that will create a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable tourism and leisure ecosystem.

We have already built a large network in our living labs. By working on the themes in these labs, we hope to create new tools, methods and innovations. We consider it especially important that these themes are not only researched from the knowledge institutions, but also get a translation, for example into entrepreneurial needs. 

News about Expertise Network Sustainable Urban Tourism

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Get in touch with Iris and ask your questions

Program Manager ENSUT