ETFI on TV on future of tourism

Nowadays, newspapers are full of the fact that tourism is growing. In the future, this will not change according to UNWTO. It is a reason for the Dutch TV show VPRO Tegenlicht to make a documentary about the future of tourism. Our tourism expert Stefan Hartman explained to them how tourism is changing now and how it will change in the future.

Who possesses a tourist destination?

The growth of tourism is positive for employment, income and investments in all kinds of (public) facilities such as infrastructure. Moreover, there are enough "notspots" which would like to attract more tourists, but which are not found by tourists yet. However, the growth also has a downside. Tourist destinations are often vulnerable areas and have a limited carrying capacity. "Hotspots" exist where tourism causes irritation among residents, crossing of tolerance limits, pollution or irreparable damage to nature or heritage. Tourist destinations become thrown off balance. The question then is: "Who owns the city?" Is it owned by the tourist, by the entrepreneur or by the inhabitant?

Challenges in tourism: building resilience

The call for sustainable tourism is growing. Tourism is then seen not as a goal, but as a means to improve the quality of life. For instance, for city restoration, nature development, employment and to maintain facilities. Places that are out of balance should be balanced again. At ETFI, we call this building resilience.

Governance in tourism

Building resilience is complex because the interests are diverse and often contradictory. The short-term of making a profit and solving ad hoc problems are often conflicting with long-term goals and (ideological) ambitions. The right governance system is essential here:

  • What is the overarching story and matching strategy?
  • Which policy is appropriate and how is the implementation arranged?
  • Who supplies the resources and takes care of the responsibilities?

Tourism is in transition

The transition of tourism is a gradual transformation, which will take decades to complete and has already been ongoing for years, from thinking in growth and more-more-more to thinking in terms of adding value. The ideal transition of tourism results in resilient tourist areas that are able to adapt to the market demand. At the same time, these are pleasant living environments and experience areas for residents, visitors and users.

ETFI's expertise in visitor pressure and governance

We add valuable ingredients to the discussion about over-tourism and visitor pressure. Our undertaken research in 13 European cities will be issued in summer by UNWTO as a handbook for destinations. In the area of ​​governance systems, our studies for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Dutch province of Flevoland and the Dutch province of Fryslân have yielded important insights and (working) methodologies that help us to move forward.