This week, David Möllers (European Studies, The Hague University of Applied Sciences) defended his thesis on the benefits of QualityCoast participation to European tourism destinations. The research report identifies the benefits from eco-labels, certifications and award in general and from the QualityCoast Award in particular, with a central focus on three case studies: QualityCoast, Torres Vedras and Noordwijk.
We would like to quote the following conclusions and recommendations of the report:
- “QualityCoast seems to be most beneficial to validate actual achievements made and continue to improve those achievements without having to hire consulting or environmental engineers […] communication tools offered by QualityCoast will need to be used actively by the awarded destination to maximize promotional value” (Möllers, 2013).
- “…QualityCoast can be described as a performance rewarding system without baseline compliance for the indicator set. Moreover, it allows for benchmarking and makes members directly comparable whereby it measures actual achievements…” (Möllers, 2013).
- “QualityCoast can be separated in two different procedures with two different outcomes. In the first place it attempts to improve the quality of a tourism destination and improve future sustainable development via its indicator set. Eventually, it enables the municipality to promote these quality improvements via the label and the award” (Möllers, 2013).
- Noordwijk and Torres Vedras – “The initial reasons for joining the QualityCoast programme were different in both case studies” … “In both case studies the attitude towards the programme is positive. The recognition of stakeholder and experts was judged quite high, but all cases showed a low recognition amongst actual visitors” (Möllers, 2013).
- “The image change of a destination and its promotional value was perceived as indispensable. It helps to keep track on the sustainability effort and actually show the outside world that a tourism destination is working on quality improvement” (Möllers, 2013).
- “QualityCoast is not a marketing tool in the first place, but a tool to improve the quality management of a destination continuously and to enable the destination to promote its quality improvement…” (Möllers, 2013).
- “This research might be used to base decisions on whether to join QualityCoast or not for potential members […or] to current members who like to form future expectations and consult an independent evaluation of the beneficial effect of QualityCoast”(Möllers, 2013).
Regarding the growing trend towards environmentally responsible behaviour in the tourism industry, the QualityCoast team is pleased about these findings and we have a positive view of our ongoing actions. As a team we would like to thank David for his valuable efforts!
Interview Snapshot: The former alderman for Tourism of Noordwijk, Drs. Leendert de Lange,
talks about the benefits of QualityCoast to Noordwijk.
Former alderman for traffic, tourism and economy of Noordwijk , Drs. Leendert de Lange, and actual
politician/vice-mayor for the VVD in Wassenaar believes in sustainable tourism for Noordwijk. In an
interview with QualityCoast he explains why the qualification is crucial for the development of
Noordwijk as international congress-seaside resort.
QualityCoast: What does sustainable tourism mean to you?
Drs. de Lange: It is important for the way you market your destination and the way you behave as a
QualityCoast: Do you think that environmental alternatives are likely to be preferred by tourists?
Drs. de Lange: Yes I think so, yes!
QualityCoast: Do you consider sustainable development beneficial to Noordwijk as a destination or
rather as a hindrance to economic growth?
Drs. de Lange: It is beneficial. What I noticed in the last years it has become more important and
especially for Noordwijk as it is quite big on international congresses. For that type of market it is
important that you track record on sustainability. People who will book congresses will look at it, in
fact those decision makers will have to look at it for choosing a destination.
QualityCoast: So, what are the benefits of QualityCoast to Noordwijk as a tourism destination?
Drs. de Lange: It raises the profile of the destination as sustainable destination and other than
normal beach destinations, a high quality beach destination! I expect QualityCoast not just to attract
more tourists, but also to validate the story we are telling and that it is telling that Noordwijk is a
great destination in context to a European program. However, the goal is not just getting this
qualification but to continuously improve in the period between the different evaluation processes.
(“The Benefits of QualityCoast to European Tourism Destinations”, p.13)