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Research

Tourism

Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action

TOURISM

The ‘Centre for Travel and Tourism Research (CTTR)’ focuses on the following question: how can we strive towards sustainable, high quality and accessible tourism? Our remit spans the three pillars of sustainability: economic, socio-cultural and environmental with regard to tourism. Qualitative and quantitative techniques are used in our research and case studies. The expertise and research interests of the CTTR are in the following research fields:

An optimal holiday experience for specific target groups

Children’s animation on the campsite, accessible hotels for wheelchair users. Everyone has certain needs and expectations for their vacation. In this field, we conduct research on those needs and expectations. With such insights, we can support industrial partners and policy makers in optimizing holiday experiences. An optimal holiday experience is attained when all components in the tourism chain (e.g. transportation, accommodation, food and beverage services) are of high quality, well-coordinated and satisfy, or even exceed, all needs and expectations. CTTR’s research targets specific groups, including the elderly, families (e.g. blended families, one-parent families, multigenerational groups) and those with an autism spectrum disorder or dementia.

Sustainable tourism development within protected areas

How does tourism impact on protected areas and how can it be a force for good? We examine both the positive and negative economic, social and ecological impacts of tourism activities within and around protected areas. Our current focus is on monitoring and evaluating visitors’ behaviour and visitor flows: e.g. where do visitors walk in a certain protected area? Such insights into visitors’ behaviour facilitates more effective visitor management to the benefit of both nature conservation and visitors’ enjoyment of the area.

Sustainable tourism behaviour

How does the tourist travel from and to their destination? Do they take a taxi on the spot or travel by bus or train? Do they eat at an international fast-food restaurant chain or at a locally owned restaurant using locally sourced products? Every choice we make as tourists – which travel mode, where/what to eat, where to stay, which places to visit – has an economic, socio-cultural and/or ecological impact. Under this topic, we examine tourist behaviour and investigate the barriers to behaviour change and the triggers and motivations which can encourage more sustainable behaviour.