Ko Koens

Ko Koens
Hogeschool Inholland · Creative Business

PhD

About

47
Publications
58,528
Reads
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1,333
Citations
Introduction
My work focuses on sustainable urban tourism with an emphasis on overtourism, tourism and everyday life, city hospitality and tourism of inequalities (slum tourism). In recent years I have mainly worked on managing tourism impacts. I am author of the UNWTO report on overtourism, and editor of the books “Slum Tourism: Poverty, Power and Ethics”. I have managed multiple research projects (JPI Urban Europe, EC) and am currently involved in the H2020 projects ‘SmartCulTour' and 'SmartDest'.
Additional affiliations
May 2013 - present
Breda University of Applied Sciences
Position
  • Lecturer
March 2007 - June 2014
Leeds Beckett University
Position
  • PhD Student
March 2007 - September 2012
Leeds Beckett University
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (47)
Article
Full-text available
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the future of tourism is a much-debated topic both in academic and non-academic circles with commentators expounding contrasting perspectives. This conceptual paper contributes to such debates and aims at envisioning plausible futures of cultural tourism, in particular. For that purpose, we first discuss cultur...
Article
This conceptual paper develops and justifies a pro-active, design-driven approach to sustainable destination development. Using insights from design science, it helps explain the limited practical usability of concepts such as the Tourism Area Life Cycle, by noting that these often focus on an aggregated ‘topological’ level of destination design, w...
Book
Full-text available
This booklet accompanies my (Ko Koens) inaugural lecture. In it, I take a systemic perspective to examine the current state of urban tourism and argue that a reframing of tourism is necessary in order to understand and prevent tourism excesses. I also discuss ways to reframe tourism, the principles of designing tourism that add value to cities, an...
Article
Full-text available
This paper seeks to highlight underlying issues of the tourism system that have led to tourism extremes of too much or too little tourism. Five phases are recognized that reflect different ways of dealing with too much tourism over time, after which the impact of a sudden lack of tourism is investigated in light of future renewal processes. This di...
Chapter
Full-text available
Tourism is an important economic sector that has a significant impact on sustainability indicators, such as GHG emissions and cohesion. Local policy makers are increasingly challenged to manage the urban tourism system at large. As part of a EU funded project, the authors have conceptualized sustainable urban tourism as the ‘management of competing...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This paper aims to undertake an ideal-typical analysis of the implications of overtourism on employment at the level of the destination. Design/methodology/approach The paper offers a theoretical analysis that uses as a starting point a traditional labour market model to explore the employment implications of a labour demand shock as a res...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines how a serious game approach could support a participatory planning process by bringing stakeholders together to discuss interventions that assist the development of sustainable urban tourism. A serious policy game was designed and played in six European cities by a total of 73 participants, reflecting a diverse array of tourism...
Chapter
An overview of defintions of carrying capacity and how it relates to overtourism.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Tourism contributes to the economic development of many European cities (Bock, 2015). Although this economic development is attractive for cities, it is questionable whether this development is sustainable (e.g. Jurowski, Uysal, & Williams, 1997, McKercher & Prideaux, 2014, Newsome, Moore, & Dowling, 2012), from an economic, social and ecological p...
Article
Full-text available
Tourism growth, particularly in cities, is coming under increased scrutiny. However, even often visited cities appear to find it difficult to agree upon a strategy to limit tourism growth. The current paper investigates this issue by looking at the extent to which different stakeholders’ perspectives on tourism development align. Q-sort methodology...
Chapter
The chapter examines the different ways of, and experiences with current tourism governance initiatives in 13 European cities Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Copenhagen Ghent, Leuven, Lisbon, Mechelen, Munich Salzburg, Tallinn). Eleven different management strategies are identified that provide different options for dealing with the...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces the Smart City Hospitality Framework, which could serve as the foundation for a destination-design-driven approach to urban tourism governance and dealing with overtourism issues. This conceptual framework is purposely designed to stimulate collaborative (informed) reflections on overtourism and urban tourism development that...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Tourism is an important economic sector that has a significant impact on sustainability indicators, such as GHG emissions and cohesion. Local policy makers are increasingly challenged to manage the urban tourism system at large. As part of a EU funded project, the authors have conceptualized sustainable urban tourism as the 'management of competing...
Article
Full-text available
The journal Sustainability has previously published special issues on sustainable tourism and on sustainable cities (both in 2014). This special issue presents recent insights from combining the two research topics. There is some convergence with respect to core challenges that sustainable urban tourism is facing. Firstly, relating to social sustai...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This is the second report of the Visitor Pressure project conducted by the Center of Expertise in Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality (www.celth.nl). The study was commissioned by the DMOs of Tallinn, Salzburg and the five Flemish arts cities Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Mechelen and Bruges. The previous report was on the first part of the visitor pressure...
Article
Full-text available
In less than two years, the concept of overtourism has come to prominence as one of the most discussed issues with regards to tourism in popular media and, increasingly, academia. In spite of its popularity, the term is still not clearly delineated and remains open to multiple interpretations. The current paper aims to provide more clarity with reg...
Chapter
The chapter proviodes a total of 68 measures to manage tourism, grouped into 11 overarching strategies, that can be employed in urban destinations, depending on the local context. Together they provide a wide variety of different tools to deal with visitors' growth and consequent challenges. Some of the strategies and specific measures proposed are...
Presentation
Full-text available
Presentation of UNWTO Report on “Overtourism? Understanding and managing urban tourism growth beyond perceptions”
Article
Full-text available
The hotel management agreement is a common, but arguably at times misunderstood, hotel operating structure. This study has sought to explore how both owners and hotel management companies (“operators”) perceive aspects of ownership in managed hotels. In-depth interviews were held with both operator and owner executives and it was found that, even t...
Technical Report
This is the unpublished report of a study on visitor pressure in the cities of Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Barcelona bu the Center of Experyise in Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality (www.celth.nl). Parts of the report were edited by UNWTO and are published as " 'Overtourism?' Understanding and Managing Urban Tourism Growth beyon...
Research
Full-text available
The visitation of areas of urban poverty is a growing phenomenon in global tourism (Burgold & Rolfes, 2013; Dürr & Jaffe, 2012; Freire-Medeiros, 2013; Frenzel, Koens, Steinbrink, & Rogerson, 2015). While it can be considered a standard tourism practise in some destinations, it remains a deeply controversial form of tourism that is greeted with much...
Article
Full-text available
This paper identifies and analyses a specific psychological barrier that plays a crucial role in explaining why the tourism accommodation sector so far has only made a limited contribution to sustainable development. This barrier represents a so-called social dilemma and relates to behavioural patterns and conflicting interests of relevant stakehol...
Article
Full-text available
Supporting the development of small tourism businesses has been seen by policy-makers as a valuable means of alleviating poverty in South African townships. This perspective has been endorsed by several “responsible” tourism businesses and academics. Following a literature review, this paper reports the findings of an empirical study that examined...
Article
Full-text available
This opinion piece addresses issues surrounding the role of researchers’ behaviour in bridging the science–policy gap in sustainable tourism mobility. Currently, the research agenda on bridging this gap encompasses the development of fuller understanding of the determinants of tourist behaviours, and only a partial understanding of the behaviour of...
Article
Full-text available
Slum tourism has been criticized for potentially exploiting the communities it visits. While the daily life of residents is the primary attraction of slum tourism, they do not receive any remuneration. Given the heated debate surrounding this topic, it is surprising that the perspective of residents remains largely unknown. This article aims to add...
Article
Full-text available
Shani and Arad (2014) claimed that tourism scholars tend to endorse the most pessimistic assessments regarding climate change, and that anthropogenic climate change was a “fashionable” and “highly controversial scientific topic”. This brief rejoinder provides the balance that is missing from such climate change denial and skepticism studies on clim...
Article
Full-text available
This final response to the two climate change denial papers by Shani and Arad further highlights the inaccuracies, misinformation and errors in their commentaries. The obfuscation of scientific research and the consensus on anthropogenic climate change may have significant long-term negative consequences for better understanding the implications of...
Article
Full-text available
Shani and Arad (2014) claimed that tourism scholars tend to endorse the most pessimistic assessments regarding climate change, and that anthropogenic climate change was a “fashionable” and “highly controversial scientific topic”. This brief rejoinder provides the balance that is missing from such climate change denial and skepticism studies on clim...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a view on the state-of-the-art literature on slum tourism. It points to the rapid growth of slum tourism research in recent years and highlights the main avenues that research has thus far explored in areas such as slum tourism history, slum tourist subjectivity, resident perspectives, slum tourism operations, economics, and m...
Article
Full-text available
The increased importance attached by policy-makers to the anticipated developmental effects of tourism in developing countries has been insufficiently examined by academic researchers, particularly in the context of the contribution of small firms in urban areas. This deficiency is addressed by providing a review of existing research followed by an...
Thesis
Full-text available
Township tourism is a controversial, yet increasingly popular, form of international tourism. To date, research on this topic has focused on its ethical dimensions, the representation of the townships, or tourists’ experiences. Few studies concentrate on the supply side of township tourism and the small businesses that are involved. Addressing this...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces the Special Issue on slum tourism with a reflection on the state of the art on this new area of tourism research. After a review of the literature we discuss the breadth of research that was presented at the conference 'Destination Slum', the first international conference on slum tourism. Identifying various dimensions, as we...
Book
Full-text available
Slum tourism is a globalizing trend and a controversial form of tourism. Impoverished urban areas have always enticed the popular imagination, considered to be places of ‘otherness’, ‘moral decay’, ‘deviant liberty’ or ‘authenticity’. ‘Slumming’ has a long tradition in the Global North, for example in Victorian London when the upper classes toured...
Article
Full-text available
This article reflects on the Costa Rican experiences with ecotourism by assessing the positive and negative environmental, economic and social impacts of ecotourism development at four tourist destinations—Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Tortuguero and ASCOMAFOR. These destinations represent different stages of tourism development. The assessment shows...

Network

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
SmartCulTour (Smart Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Sustainable Development of European Regions) is a four-year project, funded by the European Union in the frame of Horizon 2020, grant agreement number 870708. The goal of SmartCulTour is to support regional development in all European regions with important tangible and intangible cultural assets, including those located in rural peripheries and the urban fringe, through sustainable cultural tourism
Project
The SMARTDEST project is funded under the Horizon 2020 Programme. It tackles the societal challenge of social inclusion and sustainability in European cities by developing innovative solutions in the face of the conflicts and externalities that are emerging as a result of new forms of ‘mobile dwelling’. These encompass the rising cost of living, housing shortages, congestion of public services, the dislocation and marginalisation of low-income workers, and the transformation of place identities; all factors that point at avenues of exclusion of the most vulnerable sectors of resident communities. Faced with this, SMARTDEST’s overarching aim is to contribute towards urban policy agendas which take tourism and its social effects seriously. Its ambition is to fill a knowledge gap about the effects of tourism mobilities on urban inclusion and cohesion, and about the contextual, political and technological factors that determine fundamental variations in such effects; and to explore, design and test the validity of potential innovative pathways to mitigate social exclusion. The project thus includes 4 research packages that respectively (1) analyse tourism mobilities and mobile dwelling as transformative force-fields for places; (2) excavate social exclusion issues and coping practices through the engagement with affected communities in case study cities; (3) develop CityLabs as sites for the design of people-based and place-based solutions (both in the digital and non-digital realm) which demonstrate value for the broad ‘destination ecosystem’ of case study cities, and scale up as innovative systems of governance; (4) transfer the insights gained by the project at local level and extend their impacts through a dialogue with policy entities, concern communities, innovators and scientists throughout the EU policy space. The project is implemented by a consortium of 12 partners from 7 EU countries and 1 associated country, covering a broad range of academic skills; and engages with 8 case study cities.
Project
Urban tourism contributes to (local) economic prosperity, but also creates negative consequences such as CO2 emissions and pollution, overcrowding, traffic jams, noise and touristification of the city, thereby harming liveability for both residents and tourists. This project introduces the Smart City Hospitality concept, consisting of guidelines and tools, that can support cities to make the transition towards environmentally and socially responsible tourism that simultaneously contributes to long-term (economic) prosperity. Through combining hospitality principles, simulation tools, apps and serious gaming techniques, this concept supports policymakers in generating deep reflections about barriers to sustainable urban tourism and the need for transition or adaptation strategies. It supports assessment of intervention strategies based on an interactive simulation-supported multi-stakeholder approach that triggers social learning and behaviour change, while stimulating shared governance and smart citizenship. This project develops, tests, validates and refines these guidelines/ tools and the full concept through a series of living labs and field experiments in participating cities. What is more, a Smart City Hospitality network is set up and installed to ensure accessibility to this concept, including all tools and experiences with using them, for other cities and to facilitate collaborative learning within a continuous process of refining this customizable approach.