Valuable tourism is working on balance

Valuable tourism is working on balance

09/22/2023 - 15:27

Within the tourism domain, there is often talk of balance, but what is meant by it and how can you measure it?
  • Expertise
  • Research

This was explored in the project ‘Waardevol toerisme is werken aan balans’ (Valuable Tourism is Working on Balance) by the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), HZ University of Applied Sciences, Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) and NHL Stenden hogeschool – cooperating in the Centre of Expertise in Leisure Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH), and Saxion Hogeschool. The project was partly made possible by the Data & Development Lab of NBTC, CELTH and CBS (Statistics Netherlands). Together, they want this project to provide tools to policymakers, destination managers and researchers so that they too can make this ‘balance’ happen.

What balance?
So what exactly is meant by balance? Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. This growth comes with advantages and disadvantages. So balance refers to the balance between the impact on and carrying capacity of the tourism destination. Impact can be negative and positive in terms of economy, social society, and nature and environment. Carrying capacity is about the question of ‘Can they cope?’, in the same areas: economic carrying capacity, social carrying capacity and ecological carrying capacity. This also includes the psychological carrying capacity of the visitors, as well as the political carrying capacity and the physical carrying capacity of the facilities and amenities. All these different indicators can be measured in different ways.

Study into balance 
If there is interest in doing such a measurement of the balance of a tourism and recreation destination, it is recommended to have it done by experts. Not all angles of impact nor carrying capacity can yet be measured properly, but they can gather and assess all available data, looking at the specific context of the destination. In this way, the experts identify points requiring attention in order to achieve a better balance at the destination. 

Such a study starts with a working session to jointly select indicators for the specific destination. It is important here that the right people are connected from different perspectives. Data is then collected for the selected indicators. This data forms the basis for a working session with experts who determine which impact or carrying capacity is most important for this destination. Based on these results, it becomes clear what points requiring attention there are and how these can be addressed to make future-proof choices as an organisation.

To learn more about this research project, please visit: