Knowledge is a catalyst for innovation and, consequently, for increasing the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector. That is why HZ University of Applied Sciences and NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences have joint forces in setting up the Research Centre for Coastal Tourism. The research centre is supported by the ‘Pieken in de Delta’ subsidy programme. Merging the strengths of government, education and business, the centre ensures that knowledge is not only developed, but also exchanged and applied in actual practice.
Access to existing knowledge is crucial to the innovative potential of tourism businesses. That is why the Research Centre for Coastal Tourism focuses on knowledge circulation. Through this website and a substantial number of publications, relevant practical and theoretical information is gathered, made accessible and disseminated. What’s more, the Research Centre for Coastal Tourism organizes numerous meetings and conferences for stakeholders from across the industry. And last but not least, knowledge circulation is facilitated through the institutions’ educational offerings. After all, the universities of applied sciences are responsible for delivering highly qualified graduates to meet the demands of the tourism industry.
Apart from drawing on existing knowledge in the tourism industry, it is necessary to seek out and chart new areas of study. This is mostly the territory of the various associate professorships: the research groups of HZ and NHTV that interconnect education, practice and applied research. The areas of expertise of the associate professors have many aspects in common with the discipline of tourism in general and coastal tourism in particular. The knowledge thus generated offers entrepreneurs in the tourism industry support in making choices with regard to innovation and quality improvement.
Our region, the South-west of the Netherlands, is not the only region focusing on innovation in tourism. In other places in the Netherlands, Europe and beyond, knowledge institutions, governments and entrepreneurs are exploring and analysing knowledge issues in order to facilitate and contribute to innovation. Knowledge that exists and is developed elsewhere must be opened up to the South-west of the Netherlands too. That is why the Research Centre for Coastal Tourism collaborates with other programmes and organizations and participates in knowledge networks – on a regional, national and international level.