Within New Urban Tourism, part of the Creative Business research group, we focus on tourism as an integral part of the urban environment. Tourists literally walk among locals and use the same facilities. In other words, they cannot be considered a separate entity. But how do these large groups of visitors affect cities and neighbourhoods? And can we find a way for tourism to benefit the city? For instance, can we design activities in such a way that they engender new local business, make places more liveable and make locals prouder of their neighbourhoods? What can we learn about this from studies carried out in other cities abroad? We take a holistic approach to tourism, combining an international frame of mind with a local approach. In our lab environments, in association with stakeholders, we design interventions designed to help us gain a better understanding of underlying processes in major cities and their surroundings and ultimately to improve these regions.
The programme involves both research and classes, based on actual problems raised by people working in the industry. Under the supervision of Professor Ko Koens, we organise faculty-wide electives in which students from various departments form groups and design and test solutions together. For these students, this is a great opportunity to gain experience of the situation in the field, to familiarise themselves with new fields of study and to learn that tourism is part of a broader societal context. For our partners working in the industry, this is an opportunity to come up with ideas for a symbiosis between tourism and the city – ideas that we then further explore and underpin with applied research.
How can we revive the tourism industry in a sustainable manner after the coronavirus pandemic? How can we turn overtourism into something good? How do we make the visitor economy the driving force of improvements to our urban environment? In order to crack that code, we will need input from various stakeholders, such as municipal governments, local retailers, destination management organisations, transport companies, civil society organisations and locals. We get their input in several ways, including through living labs, particularly in the Urban Leisure & Tourism Labs in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Please feel free to contact us if you have any issue you wish to share or if you wish to add your perspective to any of our projects, so we can jointly seek to identify new opportunities and promising ideas that will allow us to turn tourism into a strength.
The New Urban Tourism research group conducts research into the role and potential roles played by tourism in urban environments. In so doing, we look beyond the industry's mere economic value and seek to examine whether tourism might actually be used to boost social innovation.
Tourism is not an isolated industry. It is tied up with other urban systems, such as retail, the housing market and transport. In order to obtain a more thorough understanding of the role of tourism in urban regions, we conduct holistic research.
Economic figures are not the only possible expression of the value of tourism, as tourism also greatly affects cultural, social and societal aspects. In seeking to create added valued, we incorporate all these aspects into our research.
The manifestations of tourism-related phenomena are often symptoms of other urban problems. We study these phenomena in order to get a better understanding of urban environments and improve our ability to stage interventions.