Reinventing city tourism: Creating hospitable communities together
In 2010 the city of the Hague embraced the idea of the welcoming city and launched the program ‘Be my guest’ … to market the destination and to attract tourists to the Hague as a welcoming place. And it fitted very much how destination marketing was approached in these times. Showing off, shouting out loud the positioning… hospitality as city branding. However: the genuine hospitable place cannot be created from behind the desks in the city hall and from appealing media campaigns.
From the start of the Chair (het lectoraat) City Hospitality the emphasis shifted towards the experience of hospitality. And certainly not only in hotels and restaurants but at the huge number of touristic touchpoints of a destination; the destination experience is shaped by encounters at shops, museums, public transportation, in te street, …. And every encounter can make or break the total experience.
In the years that came the sustainability and overtourism debate has put city hospitality in another light. Not only hospitableness for tourists is in stake but also how hospitality can support the liveability of residents and the business climate for entrepreneurs. City hospitality’s as a means for creating and sustaining a welcoming place for all stakeholders’ wellbeing. And for the future: long term sustainable tourism requires understanding, integrating and engaging local communities to balance the interests of all stakeholders. The competitiveness and sustainability of destinations is related to a harmonious relationship between the residents, visitors and tourists (UNWTO 2019).
Reinventing city tourism is building a hospitable city community together. City hospitality is moving towards a higher maturity level and Hotelschool The Hague researchers contribute to that development in close collaboration with industry players NBTC, Kennisnetwerk Destinatie NL and the European City Destination Alliance. As well as academic partners such as Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.