Focus on the city and local people first for sustainable tourism

PhD candidate Shirley Nieuwland and dr. Mariangela Lavanga did research on the role of creative entrepreneurs in sustainable tourism development in Rotterdam. For this research interviews were conducted with creative entrepreneurs in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 

The majority of the creative entrepreneurs focus on local residents first. Tourism is considered a nice bonus. The study shows that creative entrepreneurs who do so, could lead to more sustainable tourism because it does not lead to touristification of the city (e.g. only souvenir shops). An authentic city culture is developed and at the same time it brings financial benefits to the entrepreneurs.

Inclusivity of diverse groups of residents in the city

However inclusivity of the diverse groups of residents in the city needs to be considered to avoid exclusion and growing inequality. Many entrepreneurs pointed out that the urban development strategies mostly target creative and higher educated people to come to the city. Therefore, they feel that many locals do not feel included or benefit from these developments. At the same time the gap between rich and poor is growing.

Urban development and tourism strategies

Furthermore, the study shows that urban development strategies and tourism strategies are highly connected. Policy makers should thus not consider them as separate things. For example, the consequences of urban development strategies based on creativity, such as rising rents or the arrival of international companies like Starbucks in popular areas, need to be considered when creating sustainable urban tourism strategies. Therefore, if sustainable tourism is the aim, inclusive and sustainable urban development policies need to be created.

About the research

The research is part of the Vital Cities and Citizens program ‘Sustainable and Just Cities’ and is published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 

Read the full article here

Vital Cities and Citizens

With the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens Erasmus University Rotterdam wants to help improve the quality of life in cities. In vital cities, the population can achieve their life goals through education, useful work and participation in public life. The vital city is a platform for creativity and diversity, a safe meeting place for different social groups. The researchers involved focus on one of the four sub-themes:

•    Inclusive Cities and Diversity
•    Resilient Cities and People
•    Smart Cities and Communities 
•    Sustainable and Just Cities

VCC is a collaboration between Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB), Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) and International Institute of Social Studies (ISS).

Shirley Nieuwland
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Een interview met Shirley Nieuwland, promovendus binnen Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens. Zij onderzoekt duurzaam toerisme in steden.

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