The city of mass tourism

Touristiccity.jpg

You can explore the mass tourism route by looking at the gallery or you can add a contribution here

When tourism booms, money is made and hordes of temporary visitors stroll around the streets, Airbnb appears and changes the nature of homes and neighbourhoods and hotel chains and project developers aim to get their share of the pie. When tourism booms, voices highlighting the side-effects of tourism are also heard. Almost on a daily basis Dutch media reports on citizens from Amsterdam questioning the number of tourists, the kind of tourist and the many effects of tourism on the liveability of places: increasing housing prices, perceived overcrowding, conflicts over the meaning, identity and appropriation of places.

Among political parties, local administrations, the police, journalists, and organised and individual citizens, tourism is increasingly viewed as a problem. And although tourism is problematized in many different ways, many agree it is something that needs to be dealt with. Different policies are developed and implemented to decrease the pressures felt on the inner-city.

In this tour we contribute to the increasing body of knowledge on mass tourism. By listening to different, contradictory voices we aim to deepen the understanding of tourism and the possibilities and limits to coordinate, regulate, steer and control tourism. We explore what the social and spatial consequences are of tourism and by means of research by design we try to envision alterative scenarios and solutions.

Key questions to be addressed on this route:

  1. What is the public support for the increasing presence of tourists and for tourism as a growing sector? Answering this question, we aim to map the increasing tensions between different stakeholders in and over places.
  2. How is tourism defined as a problem, by whom and why? Who is responsible for the agenda setting of tourism as a problem? How is tourism problematized? What are the reality effects of these problem framings?
  3. Which attempts are made to influence tourism and are these attempts successful? How is mass tourism coordinated, steered or managed by governments, companies, citizens, NGOs?
  4. How does mass tourism materialise in places, spaces and landscapes?

1. Programme | 2. Background | 3. Organisers and presenters | 4. Participants

1. Programme

DAY 1. Thursday 28th of June 2018

 14.00-14.15     Amsterdam Central Station

‘Narrow cobblestone streets above wide canals, red-cheeked children in bicycle ‘baskets, “coffee” shops, fantastic museums, cheese to die for. I don’t have to add tulips and a red light district, do I? You know I’m talking about Amsterdam. And on a recent three-day visit, I was impressed.’ (source)

> Introduction by Martijn Duineveld

14.20-14.45       Chocolate sweet bar

‘Hidden in the not so noisy street it also provides nice escape from loud main streets.’ (source)

15.00                     Dam square

‘A big white statue with a bunch of pigeons flying around. No explanation in English. Not even photogenic. (…) Good reference point if you are lost and the DAM Souvenir shop on the corner had some classic tourist junk for your mother in law. By the way, most of the Dutch historical buildings in the country look like they have been 70 years without a power wash, like this statue.’ (source)

15.15-17.00            Damstraat

‘Here in the Dam street and in the Red Light district you see a lot of large groups of loud guys. The biggest change in the street is that there are way too many tourists now, it did not used to be like that. We miss the Amsterdammers. The locals almost do not come here anymore and almost all the shops are starting to be the same.’ (Entrepreneur)

> Meeting local residents and entrepreneurs and residents by Laura van Wylick

17.00-1900             Kadijksplein  

Inside the boat is a toilet, small kitchen and sleeping room. De location is across the maritime museum and near the central station. It’s a boat not a house. There is no bathroom inside only toilet. You can take a shower for only €1 near the boat 5 minutes walking.’ (source)

> Urban ethnography and AirBnB™ by Lauren Wagner

DAY 2. Friday 29th of June 2018

 10.00-11.00            Amsterdam lookout

I came all the way from Canada to visit the swings on A’dam Lookout. I was extremely disappointed when it came to my turn after waiting for 1 hour. I was a single rider and I wanted my own swing and a picture of me in the air. The attendant was reluctant to give me my own swing and was reluctant to give me a photo, saying ‘we normally don’t do this.’ I would be okay sharing a swing if every single rider had to share; however, I witnessed that every single rider had their own swing and riders ahead of me getting many pictures. I am severely upset and disappointed because of the unfair treatment that I received.’ (source)

> Tourism governance, Amsterdam and beyond by Ko Koens

11.15-14.00            A boat tour to the Indies Neighbourhood and Flevopark

“Nice neighborhood park with a distillery on a secluded pond: Amsterdam is crowded. Take the #7 tram line to Flevopark, walk a few hundred meters to a beautiful pond with a distillery and outdoor tables. Enjoy a genever made from botanicals from the park. After walking through crowded museums and sidewalks filled with people, a genever in Flevopark is a quiet, pastoral way to end the day. You’ll feel like a local too.” (Source)

> A boat tour by the Atelier Students

> Departure: Hotel Double Tree CS

14.00-16.00            Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder

I really really really liked this place. Normally I find myself automatically yawning in museums but this hidden gem was fantastic. Loved the audio guides which came with multiple languages and interesting stories, narrative and extras. Well well well worth a visit whilst in Amsterdam!’ (source)

> Presentations by Rob Fletcher, Roos Gerritsma and Tom Jacobs

  • 14.15-14.45 Roos Gerritsma: “I do get irritated sometimes, but it makes me feel proud as well “
  • 14.45-15.15 Tom Jakobs: Contested Tourism Discourses in local administration: ‘Should we lock them all on Pampus? Shoot every tourist?’
  • 15.15-16.00 Rob Fletcher: Tourism and its Discontents: Overtourism, Anti-Tourism and Beyond

16.30-18.00           Beukenplein 

‘I’ve visited Amsterdam for a few days and found this hidden little gem on a cosy market square. I saw mainly locals and that is just what I look for when I travel. The minute you walk in you are welcomed with a smile and taken to a table. Yum! This is an American walhalla!’ (source)

> A tour by the Atlelier Students

2. Background of the The Mass Tourism Tour

When tourism booms, money is made and hordes of temporary visitor’s stroll around the streets, AirBnB™ appears and changes the nature of homes and neighbourhoods and hotel chains and project developers aim to get their share of the pie. When tourism booms, voices highlighting the side-effects of tourism are also heard. Almost on a daily basis Dutch media reports on citizens from Amsterdam questioning the number of tourists, the kind of tourist and the many effects of tourism on the liveability of places: increasing housing prices, perceived overcrowding, conflicts over the meaning, identity and appropriation of places.

Among political parties, local administrations, the police, journalists, and organised and individual citizen’s tourism is increasing as a problem. And although tourism as a problem is framed in many different ways, many agree it is something that needs to be dealt with. Different policies are created and implemented to decrease the pressures felt on the inner-city.

In this tour we contribute to the increasing body of knowledge on mass tourism. By listening to different, contradictory voices we aim to deepen the understanding of tourism and the possibilities and limits to coordinate, regulate, steer and control tourism in Urban Governance.  

Key questions/ challenges to be addressed during the event 

  1. What is the public support for the increasing presence of tourists and for tourism as a growing sector? Answering this question, we aim to map the increasing tensions between different stakeholders in and over places.
  2. How is tourism as a problem defined, by whom and why? Who is responsible for the agenda setting of tourism as a problem? How is tourism problematized? What are the reality effects of these problem framings?
  3. Which attempts are taken to influence tourism and are these attempts successful? How is mass tourism coordinated, steered or managed governments, companies, citizens, NGO’s?
  4. How does mass tourism materialise in places, spaces and landscapes? We explore what the social and spatial consequences are of the presence of tourists/tourism by means of research by design we try to environs alterative scenarios and solutions and visions.

For relevant literature see: https://masstourism.net/relevant-sources/

3. Organisers and presenters

Martijn Duineveld (Project coordinator) | martijn.duineveld@wur.nl

Martijn Duineveld is Associate professor at the Cultural Geography Group Wageningen University. His research programme is named Urban Governance and the Politics of Planning and Design. He is co-founder and active contributor to the emerging body of literature on Evolutionary Governance Theory. Martijn has been involved in many international research and consultancy projects situated in Argentina, Uganda, Georgia and Russia. He also studies urban fringes and cities in the Netherlands (The Bulb region (2005-2010), Groningen (2010-2012) and Arnhem (2013-2018). In these cases, he explores the power interplays between local politicians, planners, designers, project developers and citizens.

Ruby Neugebauer (Project coordinator)  | ruby.neugebauer@wur.nl|

Master student Spatial Planning, Wageningen University.

Ko Koens (Project coordinator) | Koens.K@nhtv.nl

Ko Koens is a Lecturer at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences. He has published in academic journals and is editor of the books “Slum Tourism: Poverty, Power and Ethics” and “Tourism and Geographies of Inequality: The New Global Slumming Phenomenon”. His main research interests are slum tourism, urban tourism and hospitality as well as other forms of sustainable, responsible and eco-tourism in Europe, Latin America and Africa, with a specific, with a specific focus on small businesses and entrepreneurship.

Roos Gerritsma | Roos.Gerritsma@INHOLLAND.nl

Associate Lector at Inholland University of Applied Sciences, research coordinator of the Urban Leisure and Tourism Lab in Amsterdam (North). I am an urban sociologist and have been researching tourism topics since 1999. As an urban sociologist I have been researching this topic since 1999 (residents of Amsterdam and their attitudes towards tourism and tourists) and since 2008 with students of Leisure and Tourism Management of Inholland University of Applied Sciences. We have also developed several tourism concepts between residents and visitors. We have erected the Urban Leisure and Tourism Lab in Amsterdam and focus on developing inclusive and sustainable places.

Rob Fletcher | robert.fletcher@wur.nl

I am an environmental anthropologist with research interests in conservation, development, ecotourism, globalization, climate change, social and resistance movements, and non-state forms of governance. I use a political ecology approach to explore how culturally-specific understandings of human-nonhuman relations and political economic structures intersect to inform patterns of natural resource use and conflict. Most of my research has been conducted in Latin America (particularly Costa Rica and Chile) but I have begun to work in East Africa as well.

Lauren Wagner | l.wagner@maastrichtuniversity.nl

I am a post-disciplinary social scientist, with roots in sociology, anthropology, geography, & sociolinguistics, and interests in categorization and belonging, ethnomethodology and practice, migration and diaspora, leisure and consumption, & complexity and nonlinear dynamics. I am currently in the Department of Technology and Society Studies, and the Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development Research Group

Laura van Wylick | laura.vanwylick@wur.nl

Laura is a Master Student Tourism, Leisure and Environment, Wageningen University. Laura writes her thesis about the different local discourses, practices and powers that shape one of Amsterdam’s tourist hotspots: de Damstraat

Tom Jakobs | tom.jakobs@wur.nl

Tom is a Master Student Tourism, Leisure and Environment, Wageningen University. Tom Jacobs analyses the different contested tourism discourses in the Amsterdam municipality.

Ruben Jonker | ruben.jonker@wur.nl

Master student Spatial Planning, Wageningen University. Ruben Jonker aims to understand the roles urban design and objects play in limiting and steering the spatial behaviour of people. One of his case studies is the Amsterdam Museumplein, a square (or large open field) in the centre of Amsterdam which is used and appropriated very differently by a diverse variety of groups: tourists, local residents, elderly people, students, youngsters.