2023 journal article

Tell Me Where to Go: An Experiment in Spreading Visitor Flows in The Netherlands

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

By: O. Mitas*, R. Badal, M. Verhoeven*, K. Verstraten*, L. Graaf*, H. Mitasova n, W. Weijdema, J. Klijs*

MeSH headings : Humans; Emotions; Netherlands; Quality of Life; Recreation; Travel
Source: ORCID
Added: April 11, 2023

Cities attracting large numbers of tourists increasingly face crowding and public resistance to tourism growth. As a result, governments strive to spread tourists from the best-known attractions to less-visited locations to improve both residents’ and tourists’ quality of life. Evidence of success and best practices herein is largely anecdotal, and the effects on tourist experience are also unknown. Thus, we undertook a randomized 2 × 2 experiment in the province of Overijssel (The Netherlands), wherein tourists staying at vacation parks near small and mid-sized cities were exposed to information which emphasized attractions in either heavily visited or less-visited areas. Participants were also assigned to receive the information in either a passive or a conversational form. Location and daily emotion, as well as experience evaluation on the last day of the vacation, were recorded via mobile platforms. We found that tourists receiving information on attractions in less-visited areas engaged in significantly more movements around these attractions, and significantly less around heavily visited areas. The conversational form of information delivery was more positively evaluated than information delivered passively. Furthermore, vacation experience emotions and evaluations were largely unaffected. Thus, it is clearly possible to direct tourists to less-crowded locations without negatively affecting their vacation experiences.