The city of mass tourism

Tourism

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?

Nodes on the route – for the time being

– Amsterdam Central Station

– Dam Square

– Damstraat

– Red-light district

Atelier project links:
Flevopark & Beukenplein Amsterdam Oost