Tourism and Transport in Time and Space: the Netherlands As Leisure-land

Tourism and Transport in Time and Space: the Netherlands As Leisure-land


A Boumans, P Jorritsma, Ministry of Transport (AVV), NL



The leisure market nowadays belongs to the largest and fastest growing markets of the Western economy, both in turnover and employment. The modal Dutchman spends a quarter of its income on leisure. Entrepreneurs are looking for economies of scale, try to introduce new and attractive themes and form new business structures. This leads to new leisure and tourism facilities, like shopping malls, factory outlets and ?sportertainment' complexes. These developments have a significant impact on the spatial planning in the Netherlands. The leisure market takes up an increasing quantity of space.

The consequences on transport and traffic flows are underestimated. Tourism and leisure activities not only generate (on average) more and longer trips than work related travel, they have been responsible for a considerable part of the increase of mobility over the last years in the Netherlands

This was reason for the AVV Transport Research Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Transport to start research on the chances and challenges of the changing leisure market, from the perspective of transport and spatial planning. The results are presented in an atlas: 'The Netherlands as leisure land'. The atlas deals with questions like: on what activities do people spend their leisure and what amount of time is involved in these activities? Where do they find what they are looking for? What transport flows does this generate? Which spatial and transport problems arise and where? The Atlas describes the demand and supply side of tourism and the leisure market for the year 2002. By means of scenarios the future is explored. Several possible developments up to the year 2020 are screened to predict future chances and challenges.

Several techniques and methods have been used to compose the Atlas: a desk study on leisure in relation to transport, interviews and workshops with experts to analyse (future) consumer needs and trends in the tourism sector; quantitative date sources have been analysed to produce about 30 maps of the Netherlands. Workshops have been organised with several governments to point out chances and challenges.

The atlas shows that more and more transport related problems arise due to tourism and leisure activities. The maps show that on some roads and routes, traffic is already more intense on weekend days than on weekdays. Specific transport problems are outlined. On the basis of the scenarios one can conclude that traffic flows will increase in the near future due to leisure activities.

The Atlas is an inspiring tool for those involved in the field of transport and mobility and spatial planning. More so, specialists on nature conservation, economy and tourism can also use this as useful background information. The general conclusion is that leisure activities are important in transport and spatial planning, but frequently forgotten. Researchers and Governments can therefore use the Atlas as a basis for sustainable developments in tourism and transport.


Association for European Transport