Tourism can be negative for a city and its inhabitants, and that needs to change according to Ko Koens, lecturer on New Urban Tourism at Hogeschool Inholland. In his inaugeral lecture, he philosophises about a new template for tourism.
It is financially beneficial for cities to attract tourists, so for a long time, income has been a major motivation for cities to encourage it. But cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam have seen the other side of the coin; that visitors to a city can cause nuisance to its residents.
Nuisance caused by tourists
Ko Koens, who lectures on the New Urban Tourism at Hogeschool Inholland, studies new templates for tourism whereby residents of the city have a voice and the city does not suffer from the influx of tourists. As Koens explains: ‘You want to avoid a situation in which a city’s residents consider tourism to be an annoyance. Whenever tourists cause nuisance or people feel that there are simply too many tourists, this will affect their living experience’.
Changing the contours of tourism
During his inaugeral lecture on Wednesday 2 June 2021, Ko Koens will be posing the question: ‘How can we change tourism and break through the current system?’ He feels that you must explore at a hyper-local level if you want to achieve that. It is crucial that initiatives are built from the bottom up, rather than the perception being that only the city council determines what happens in the city. Ko Koens: ‘Activities and sites should be created for residents rather than for tourists’.
Exploring at a local level
That means it is essential to liaise with city dwellers and entrepreneurs alike. Says Ko Koens: ‘Needs will differ from one city quarter to another, and even from one street to another. By engaging in dialogue, you can find out what residents want. Do they even appreciate visitors, and if so, along what lines? Do they like to meet people in this way, do they want to show off their culture, or does tourism ensure that neighbourhood facilities like public transport are better maintained?’