Welcome City Lab Trend Book #5

Welcome City Lab Trend Book #5


Published volume


Ko Koens

Original Title

Welcome City Lab Trend Book #5: Developing Low-Tech Urban Tourism Together.

Welcome City Lab is an innovation platform dedicated to urban tourism that includes the world’s first incubator specifically for this sector. It was created in July 2013 by Paris&Co, with the support of the City of Paris, BPI France, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the French General Directorate of Enterprise (DGE). Its other founding members are Atout France, the Caisse des Dépôts, the Conseil Départemental des Hauts-de-Seine, Galeries Lafayette, Groupe ADP, the Métropole du Grand Paris, Paris Inn Group, RATP Group, Sodexo and Viparis. The innovation platform offers start-ups and players in the tourist sector a full range of services: an incubator, a place for networking, discussions and co-working, a test platform and a monitoring unit.

In the Welcome City Lab Trend Book #5, Ko Koens describes in the article ‘Developing Low-Tech Urban Tourism Together’ opportunities that have arisen for tourist destinations due to the corona crisis.

”The massive growth in popularity of urban tourism destinations prior to the Covid 19 pandemic was a mixed blessing for many cities. While it helped them develop economically, excessive tourism growth caused (parts of) cities to suffer from
‘overtourism’. Now that visitors are slowly returning to cities, it is useful to think about ways to develop a better kind of urban tourism. Using experiences from Belgium and the Netherlands, this contribution provides ideas and suggestions on this matter, thus highlighting the benefits of taking a low-tech approach.”

New Urban Tourism

Within New Urban Tourism, part of the Creative Business knowledge centre, we focus on tourism as an integral part of the urban environment. Tourists literally walk among locals and use the same facilities. In other words, they cannot be considered a separate entity. But how do these large groups of visitors affect cities and neighbourhoods? And can we find a way for tourism to benefit the city? For instance, can we design activities in such a way that they engender new local business, make places more liveable and make locals prouder of their neighbourhoods? What can we learn about this from studies carried out in other cities abroad? We take a holistic approach to tourism, combining an international frame of mind with a local approach. In our lab environments, in association with stakeholders, we design interventions designed to help us gain a better understanding of underlying processes in major cities and their surroundings and ultimately to improve these regions.

Foto: Mika Baumeister Unsplash