SIA subsidy for lectors’ platform for Sustainable Urban Tourism

Unique collaboration fuelling the transition to regenerative urban tourism


The lectors’ platform, Sustainable Urban Tourism, has been granted a subsidy of €100,000 by the SIA. Tasked with researching how to develop forms of tourism that will contribute to a more sustainable urban living environment, this platform has united researchers from twelve Dutch knowledge institutions. Based on a joint research and innovation agenda, they are working together in conjunction with local, as well as national and international, partners. 

Unique transdisciplinary collaboration 
At the moment, the Sustainable Urban Tourism lectors’ platform comprises 16 professors and researchers from 12 knowledge institutions*. These participants come from a variety of academic backgrounds, including tourism, geography, business innovation, design, psychology, architecture, marketing and the creative industry. The diversity they all bring is key to acquiring a better understanding of urban tourism, particularly now that it has become an increasingly integral part of contemporary cities. 

This kind of collaboration is quite unique in the world and it can help us find innovative solutions for urban tourism problems, both here in the Netherlands as well as in other countries inside and outside Europe.

Ko Koens, professor of New Urban Tourism at Inholland University of Applied Sciences and the initiator of the platform

Tourism as more than just an ecosystem 
Transdisciplinary collaboration between different educational platforms makes it possible to analyse tourism as a social phenomenon, as opposed to just an economic sector. Adopting such a perspective is both innovative and essential in addressing the question of how ambitious visions for the future of tourism can be translated into real-world change. The theme of sustainable urban tourism, as well as regenerative tourism, is in line with the wider social development that now accompanies urban tourism. Cities, national tourism organisations and the European Commission are currently united in the way they perceive a future in which the tourism ecosystem will transition to a position that will make a much broader contribution to inclusive growth and prosperity. The lectors’ platform intends to fuel this transition by using joint research and design to place more emphasis on how it will all be realised. ‘The tourism ecosystem is becoming increasingly complex,’ insists Karoline Wiegerink, Professor City Hospitality Hotelschool The Hague. ‘It demands visible value creation for a wide range of stakeholders. And not just tourists, but residents and entrepreneurs in particular.’ 

Joint research and innovation agenda 
The aim of the platform is to collaborate with local, national and international partners on the basis of a joint research and innovation agenda and then learn how tourism can be used to improve places and the local way of life. These partners include municipalities, provincial authorities, destination management organisations (DMOs), museums, hotels, the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) and other, international, partners. To maximise its social impact, the platform has joined forces with the Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH), whose focus is on increasing knowledge and making the broader leisure economy more sustainable. ‘The knowledge and insights that are being developed by the lectors’ platform are necessary to help increase the positive impact the hospitality industry has in cities,’ says Menno Stokman, director of CELTH. ‘This will help realise the objectives of the broader Agenda-Conscious Destinations and Perspective 2030 Destination Netherlands.’ 

* Participating knowledge institutions: Inholland University of Applied Sciences (lead), Breda University of Applied Sciences, Hotelschool The Hague, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht University, Wageningen University, Erasmus University, Eindhoven University of Technology