How can tourism be a positive influencer for sustainable and welcoming destinations?

Cities are experienced by their hospitality. Next to the importance of the hospitable climate towards visitors and tourists, this also includes multiple stakeholders such as residents, entrepreneurs and businesses. At Hotelschool The Hague we believe creating socially sustainable interactions between residents and visitors will lead to attractiveness and livability of cities and destinations.

Karoline Wiegerink, professor of City Hospitality, and her colleague Jan Huizing, research fellow at Hotelschool The Hague, focus on creating value through hospitality experience in research, education and collaboration with the industry.

Do you think tourism can be a positive influencer for sustainable and welcoming destinations?

Definitely. By connecting and engaging with locals and contributing to the local community and society. The touristic ecosystem is shifting from a primarily visitor-focus to attention to caring for the entire city, region or neighborhood, connecting with residents and business, the inhabitants. This is important for all Destination Marketing and Management Organizations but also for the Tourist Information Outlets and their hosts.

During a two-day conference (Nov 24-25) in Göteborg, Sweden, motivated Tourist Information Centre (TIC) representatives worked on the theme of sustainable tourism and communities, moderated by Jan Huizing and Karoline Wiegerink. Many ideas were collected and discussed wherein tourists and the tourism industry contributed to the livability of the destination.

How can Tourist Information Centers engage with the local community?

At the end of the day, it is all about the motivation and energy the local Tourist Information Office teams dedicate to the locals. It’s a mindset that can be achieved by involving locals as ambassadors, putting local entrepreneurs in the spotlight, making the Tourist Information Office a place for meetings and engaging residents, inviting and empowering locals to join the touristic initiatives. All these activities add value to the local community; emotional, social, economic and environmental.

Sharing best practices during this kind of informative sessions is inspiring and makes you think further. They really brought us closer to actionable solutions to connect with locals The workshop also raised new research questions such as ‘how to reach and engage negative-minded residents’; 'how tourists can contribute to a more positive impact on the city' and ‘how local pride and hospitality relates to mass tourism'.

PSL City Destinations Alliance

Hotelschool The Hague partners with the City Destinations Alliance. This knowledge-sharing alliance brings together cities and urban regions committed to a sustainable, inclusive and responsible visitor economy that benefits people, planet and prosperity. At Hotelschool The Hague we look forward to strengthening collaboration with this valuable network and contributing to finding new roles and opportunities to make a real, visible difference within welcoming city communities.

If you are an industry partner interested in collaborating with Hotelschool The Hague on research projects related to city hospitality, please contact Karoline Wiegerink via