The Scenario Planning Department examines what changes the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors are set to undergo over the next two decades. Its objective is to learn more about the effect these changes will have, as the tourism industry needs this information in order to be able to create policies and design strategies. This is essential in such a fast-changing industry with constantly changing trends.

Scenario planning is a method of anticipating the future – particularly the uncertainties that future is likely to bring. It involves exploring what might happen and developing a number of these scenarios. Each scenario describes the trends and developments and potential impact these will have on businesses, institutions or the region. This teaches us about opportunities, risks and threats, and makes it easier to anticipate the possible implications.


The Scenario Planning Department and ETFI conduct their own research, as well as research commissioned by various private companies. Below is a list of projects in which the Department is involved in some capacity. 

Future scenarios for the city of Leeuwarden Four scenarios for Leeuwarden’s city centre in 2020 

We were commissioned by the City of Leeuwarden to develop a series of future scenarios for its city centre. The City is using the results of the study for a variety of purposes, including eligibility for the title of ‘Best City Centre in the Netherlands’ in 2015. For more information, please refer to the research report. 

Other projects commissioned by businesses and institutions

  • Youth and Water Sports – Four scenarios for the Frisian water sports sector in 2020
  • Carnival Futures Notting Hill 2020
  • Future scenarios for Veenhuizen 2025
  • Future scenarios for Geopark de Hondsrug
  • Development of recreational accommodation in Friesland
  • Future scenarios for Leeuwarden – Four scenarios for Leeuwarden’s city centre in 2020
  • More opportunities! The North of the Netherlands as an international holiday destination
  • Waddendijk
  • Destination Brand (in conjunction with Fachhochschule Westküste)
  • Tourism Monitor (formerly Toerisme in Cijfers – Toerdata Noord)
  • Bezoekersmonitor (formerly Consumentenonderzoek – Toerdata Noord)
  • Holiday Googlers and human interfaces – the travel professional of the future
  • Assessment of networks and incentive schemes
  • MIRAC – Innovation in Gastronomy
  • Naoborschap 2.0
  • Leisure Landscapes (in conjunction with Groningen University)
  • Sportas Masterdam – Sports Tourism
  • The Link – Future Scenarios for Emmen 2025

Department research projects 

  • Sustainable Tourism 2040 – A Manifesto (in conjunction with European research partners)
  • The Future of Tourist Attractions (in conjunction with GfK Panel Services Benelux)
  • Camping – A Sector with a Future 
  • Sustainable Regional Cooperation – Multidisciplinary tourism supply chain in South East Drenthe (in conjunction with the Sustainable Innovation in the Regional Knowledge Economy Department)
  • Complexity of the Future – The Limits of Forecasting
  • The Zoo of the Future
  • From Backpacking to ‘Flashpacking’

If you are interested in reading the reports of any of these studies, please feel free to download them from the ETFI website.


The Scenario Planning Department is affiliated with NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences’ Tourism Management and Leisure Management programmes, and many of the results of their research are incorporated into the curriculum. If you are enrolled at NHL Stenden’s School of Leisure and Tourism, scenario planning is one of the areas you will study in your classes. If you take a special interest in the subject, you may even have the opportunity to become involved in one of our research studies.

Ties to the industry

As you might imagine, the process of scenario planning is not merely a handful of people sitting at their desks with a stack of paperwork. In fact, our Department maintains an extensive network of businesses, governments and research and educational institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

We are affiliated with the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), an expertise centre for future studies and scenario planning which was co-founded by two industry associations. ETFI is also involved in organising seminars, networking meetings and conferences, and is the founder of the European Tourism Research Network, a network of 20 research and educational institutions from a total of 17 countries. Together with the NHL Stenden School of Hotel Management, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences and HZ University of Applied Sciences in Vlissingen, the ETFI makes up the CELTH: the national expertise centre established by the national government for the Dutch leisure, tourism and hospitality industries.

Research Group

The Professor of Applied Sciences heading the research group is Dr Albert Postma. The other members of the Research Group are NHL Stenden lecturers and researchers, scenario planning specialists and PhD students affiliated with Groningen University and the networking organisation for university students, Campus Fryslân.

Contact Research Group

If you have any questions about the Research Group or would like to receive more information, please contact the Department’s administrative Department at +31 (058) 244 19 92 or by e-mail at

Additional information

If you would like to find out more about the Department of Scenario Planning and the ETFI, please check out one of the following websites:


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Academy of Leisure & Tourism
Postbus 1298
NL-8900 CG Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Rengerslaan 8-10
NL-8917 DD Leeuwarden, the Netherlands


Administrative Assistant, Department of Scenario Planning
T: +31 (0)58 244 19 92

Office Manager ESR/Academisation Office: Ms Sonja Schuil
T: +31 (0)6 19281329

Team members

Sustainable Development Goals

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