Some observations on tourism development in the Dutch Wadden Sea area

Hans Revier, Albert Postma, Akke Folmer

Research output: Working paperProfessional

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Tourism has become one of the important economic activities in the Dutch Wadden Sea area. The tranquillity, open space, the natural qualities and cultural inheritance of the area attract every year between 1 and 2 million visitors. Especially the islands are a popular holiday destination. Tourism development on the coastal mainland, however, is lacking behind. It can hardly profit from the visitor streams to the islands. Biking, hiking and a visit to the spacious beaches of the islands are the most popular activities. The authentic atmosphere and the landscapes of the islands are appreciated the most. From a survey among participants in nature excursions it appeared that experiencing wildlife of the Wadden Sea is the most important factor in shaping visitors’ attachment to the area.
In general the nomination of the Wadden Sea as a natural World Heritage site is
considered to be an important incentive for tourism development. From our surveys it became apparent that, in contrary to the German coastal areas, the WHS is relatively unkown and different stakeholders, like entrepreneurs, don’t take any initiative that could benefit from the listing.
To give a sustainable boost to the Wadden area as a tourism destination requires a clear and focused vision and strategy that is supported by the residents and the
various tourism stakeholders. Encouraged by the Worldheritage status of the
Wadden area and the expected permission to extend the airport in Groningen
directions were developed for the development of the North-Netherlands as
international tourism destinations with the help of scenario planning.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherStenden Hogeschool
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • tourism
  • nature conservation
  • wadden area


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