1 million euro grant for NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences enables unique research into sustainable tourism in Antarctica

NHL Stenden's European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) will spend the next four years researching the future of tourism in Antarctica. The ADAPT project, which focuses on sustainable tourism in protected areas, was awarded 1 million euros by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It is not only unique for large-scale research into tourism in Antarctica to be carried out, but also for the grant to be awarded to a university of applied sciences. "We are proud to use our unique research method of scenario planning to help the continent make smart choices early on that will positively contribute to tourism." says Dr. Stefan Hartman, head of the ETFI.

Scenario planning: exploring what could happen in the future
Hartman: "The tourism industry is growing fast, sometimes very fast locally. And we are dealing with vulnerable nature, cultural history and communities. With the project ADAPT (short for 'Adaptation pathways through knowledge co-production to anticipate Antarctica's uncertain tourism futures') we are applying the uncommon method of scenario planning. In the past decades, this method has proven itself worldwide as a method to thoroughly explore what could happen in the future. Not only based on what you already know - something many organisations do - but also based on the uncertainties. What changes and developments might come to Antarctica? The aim is to map out possible policy paths with which the public and private parties involved can determine their strategy."

Results also applicable to other areas
The insights from this study can also be applied to other protected areas, including Unesco World Heritage Sites, National Parks or cultural heritage sites. Also in the Netherlands, where the conscious handling of tourist-recreational destinations is receiving more and more attention. The research fits in seamlessly with the Agenda Conscious Destinations of the national Centre of Expertise Leisure Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH) of which NHL Stenden is part.

International cooperation
Hartman's research is part of the 'Polar Tourism' programme of the National Science Agenda (NWA). Three other projects have been approved within this programme: https://www.nwo.nl/nieuws/vier-nieuwe-projecten-over-antarctisch-toerisme. The projects are connected in parts and will reinforce each other because of it. The ADAPT project is being carried out jointly by researchers from the University of Tasmania (Australia), University of Surrey (UK), Nipissing University (Canada), Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and a large number of collaborative partners.

About ETFI
The European Tourism Futures Institute studies which changes the leisure, recreation and tourism sector will undergo and how these developments can be anticipated with innovative visions, concepts and strategies. ETFI is the only expertise centre in Europe that applies scenario planning as its core activity. For more information on ETFI, please visit www.etfi.nl.