register   exhibitandsponsorbutton

Session: No more room for growth? Overtourism and its lessons for the wider attractions industry.


Tuesday 25 Sept. 2018
14:30 - 15:45


IAAPA Theatre sponsored by Polin Waterparks

Why too many tourists can be an opportunitiy instead of problem

Many popular tourist destinations are ringing the alarm bells. Euro Attractions Show host city Amsterdam, Venice, Barcelona, Cinque Terre and even Norway and Iceland are only some examples of destinations struggling with the amount of tourists and the effect they have on the quality of living at those locations. This has a big impact on the general discussion on many levels and the willingness to invest in tourism in other parts of the country.

During this session our speakers will explore what this means for attractions operators and developers and how they can help in spreading visitors. What opportunities are raising for them, while tackling the bigger problem? In the first part, several experts will discuss in what way the sector and regions can cope with these developments. In the second part, three directors of a visitor attraction will discuss in further detail which techniques can be used, what opportunities arise and how they think these developments can be managed.



Carolien Nederlof
Carolien Nederlof, Owner, Imagine Leisure

Carolien Nederlof is specialised in leisure strategies, businessdevelopment and marketing. She loves the combination of creating the best customer experience and a successful business at the same time. As co-owner of Imagine Leisure, she’s involved in realizing leisure ambitions from governments, real estate developers and leisure facilities. The planned opening of the Legoland Discovery Centre in The Hague and the expansion of Madurodam are recent successes of which she’s really proud. This year the expansion of an French attraction to The Netherlands and the conceptdevelopment for an 18th century building are big projects. And for the EAS 2018, two educational sessions are co-created by Carolien, an opportunity she’s very happy about.

Marcel Westerdiep
Marcel Westerdiep, General Manager, Escher in het Paleis

Marcel Westerdiep is the General Manager of museum ‘Escher in the Palace’ in The Hague where he able to establish a significant growth of 110% in visitor numbers within 7 years with a very small and enthusiastic team. Passion, dedication and discipline are the keywords he lives by and what he looks for in others, which are characteristics rooted in his martial arts background.

He enjoys the international aspect of the trade and loves combining not ‘field’ related technologies with the content of the institutions he works for, in order to create new ways of telling stories.

As a team manager, Marcel truly believes that creating ownership within a team results in the best possible outcome, for the company as well as for the individual team members. While working for Merlin Entertainments, he was nominated as innovator of the year for the introduction of the ‘shark weeks’.

Before managing the ‘Escher in the Palace’ museum, Marcel was the general manager of the Sea Life Center Scheveningen, Stayokay Hostel The Hague and the Rotterdam Euromast.



Joris Van Dijk
Joris van Dijk, Managing Director, Madurodam

Joris van Dijk (44) started his position as Managing Director of the The Hague-based themepark Madurodam in September 2010. Prior to joining Madurodam, Van Dijk worked for the Dutch National Lottery for 7 years, of which the last three years as Executive Board member responsible for Marketing & Sales. Joris van Dijk studied at Utrecht University, Harvard Business School, Nyenrode Business University and THNK School of Creative Leadership. He is married and father of three children.

Maarten van der Meer
Maarten van der Meer, Director, Zaanse Schans

Maarten van der Meer (1968) is Director of the Zaanse Schans Foundation since spring 2018. This foundation is responsible for the management and maintenance of most buildings and the strategic vision and development of "the Schans". With more than 2 million visitors, this area is one of the most popular destinations in the country. In recent years there has been a strong growth, especially from international tourists. In order to better regulate the situation and to keep the area safe, sustainable and livable, the Zaanse Schans Foundation is discussing the future developments at the Schans with involved parties and the Municipality of Zaanstad.

Axel Rüger
Axel Rüger, Director, Van Gogh Museum

Axel Rüger became the Van Gogh Museum’s Director in April 2006. He is in charge of Museum Affairs and Public Affairs. Axel studied Art History at the Freie Universität in Berlin and then at Cambridge, before receiving his PhD at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

He worked at a number of museums in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington until 1999, when he was appointed Curator of Dutch Paintings (1600–1800) at the National Gallery in London.

Axel was selected in 2004 to take part in the Clore Leadership Programme – a high-level initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation in the UK, which focuses on the development of leadership in the cultural sector.

Joost van Berkel
Joost van Berkel, Managing Director, This is Holland

Joost van Berkel started his position as Commercial Director of THIS IS HOLLAND in May 2017. THIS IS HOLLAND is a unique 5D flight experience: it doesn’t just show you the Netherlands, it lets you experience it. The number 1 reason for accepting the beautiful challenge is to create and built a unique attraction in a unique city at a unique spot (Amsterdam North).

He worked at a number of different Leisure companies; Golden Tulip, NBTC|Holland Marketing, Lovers Canal Cruise, Waterresort Bodelaeke.

Stephen Hodes
Stephen Hodes, Co-Owner, LAgroup

Stephen Hodes was born and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. He emigrated to the Netherlands where he graduated as an architect from the University of Delft.

Shortly thereafter he joined the Netherlands Board of Tourism, first as marketing manager and then as director North America, based in New York. He joined KPMG Management Consulting in 1991 as partner Culture, Tourism & Hospitality and started his own company LAgroup (Leisure & Arts Consulting) in 1997. In 2014 Stephen set up, alongside LAgroup, his own private think tank, Amsterdam in Progress, to find solutions for overtourism and the disbalance between inhabitants, businesses and visitors in Amsterdam.

Hans van Driem
Hans van Driem, Managing Partner, International Destination Strategies

After his study at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences and Columbia College, Missouri, Hans van Driem started his career in 1970 as tour director Europe for USA operators until 1974 when he was appointed as sales manager USA for NBBS College Study Tours to Europe. In the year to follow he was sales & marketing manager at The Hague Marketing, sales & marketing manager Crest Hotels Benelux and vice-president sales & marketing Europe for IHG. He has taken the role of director commercial affairs & operations of the World Horticulture Exhibition Floriade 1992 and was responsible for the construction and operations of the new theme park Walibi Flevo and Six Flags Holland. In 2000 he was appointed as managing director Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC) and later managing director of Holland Business Promotion Office. In 2010 he started International Destination Strategies. Since 2012 IDS is involved in the development of Holland World, the largest new theme park of the Netherlands.

Goof Lukken
Goof Lukken, Senior Lecturer Attractions & Theme Park Management, NHTV Breda

Goof Lukken is a senior lecturer Attractions & Theme Parks Management, tourism and leisure at Breda University of applied sciences (BUas.nl). He teaches in the field of marketing, communication and management. Goof has worked as a marketing manager for Libéma, on of the biggest leisure holdings in the Netherlands that owns several themeparks, zoo’s resorts and event locations. Within the Breda University, he is mainly involved the Europe’s first bachelor track in Attractions and Theme Parks management. This track works in education closely together with several partners in the industry such as Disney World, the Efteling, several zoo’s and Europapark. Goof is also a specialist in the field of the Dutch tourism and leisure industry.

register now

Practical summary

Date: Tuesday, 25 September 2018
14:30 - 15:45
Location:   RAI Amsterdam Convention Center IAAPA Theatre sponsored by Polin Waterparks
Fee: Free Admission with EAS badge (IAAPA-members)
'Conference Programme' add-on required (non-members) 
Track: Local Challenges Track
Notes: Must be 18 or older to attend.