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New urban tourism

Tourism in Rotterdam has grown rapidly, an increasing number of visitors comes to the city (till 2020 COVID paralyzed tourism) because it is said to be dynamic, have a good vibe, an interesting waterfront and harbour, as well as progressive architecture and cultural events. Literature talks about 'new urban tourism', and through this lens the Rotterdam case was studied. 

After a review of literature, the situation of Rotterdam and its tourism growth and policy development is clarified and then tourism practices of everydayness, authenticity and de-differentiation are discussed. New urban tourism as a concept, it is argued, does not help very much in cities smaller than world-tourism cities. Urban tourists do not come to Rotterdam for everydayness, but for extraordinary everydayness (events, things to see and do), mostly in the city centre. Tourists in a way search for authenticity, but this is an often used but very ambiguous term. And about de-differentiation: it is true that tourists have mixed travel motives (hybrid travel - business, friends, pleasure, all combined) and that most tourists cannot be distinguished from locals.  

Published in International Journal of Tourism Cities, 2020


Learning from overtourism; Rotterdam new tourism policy

Rotterdam’s tourism grows rapidly but is still modest compared to cities like Amsterdam and Brussels. Until 2018, Rotterdam’s municipal tourism actions were economically oriented and focused attention on marketing, hotels, congresses, and events. Local authorities became aware of potential negative impacts of tourism, associated with overtourism, and decided that a new tourism policy was needed.

After a consultation with stakeholders and advise from an expert committee, the municipality presented early 2020 a new tourism vision. The starting point of this vision is that tourism should contribute to the broader policy and development aims of the city and should benefit Rotterdam’s citizens.

The new vision is a positive step but leaves critical questions regarding tourism policy and its implementation unanswered. 2020 for sure showed no overtourism, and can be used for developing tourism policy actions. 

Published in Urban Research and Practice, 2020

An article appeared end of 2022 in European Spatial Research Policy on urban tourism / overtourism in Amsterdam / Rotterdam. Click here.

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