Rebuilding of the tourist industry after COVID-19: Cases of Dutch and Flemish urban tourist destinations

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The current COVID-19 crisis, which started at the beginning of 2020 and continued in 2021 showed light to new problems in tourism of ‘overtourism’ and the impact of climate change caused major concerns in the pre-COVID-19 era. The outbreak of COVID-19 made clear how important tourism is, even for less prominent tourism destinations such as the Netherlands and Belgium. This might not be the end of the crisis or the only crisis with a global impact – thinking of climate change – and therefore it is essential to understand the responsiveness and recovery strategies developed by tourism destinations out of the crisis caused by COVID-19. Little is known about how tourist destinations managed to survive during the pandemic. In parallel, on many occasions, experts fueled their ‘tourism will never be the same’ opinion. Therefore, in this thesis, there will be an investigation on the short-term crisis management and the view of different cities' tourism planning and management officials in the Netherlands and Belgium. This by attempting to answer the question: are (urban) destinations, such as in the Netherlands and Flemish-Belgium, working on post-COVID-19 strategies and actions, and to what extent will the pandemic proved (proves) to be a momentum to do things differently?
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen