Valkenburg aan de Geul is a small historic town not far from Maastricht. This picturesque town is situated in a unique environment for the Netherlands: in a valley between a few hills. Since the end of 1800, the town is mainly dependent on tourism, making it the oldest tourist town in the Netherlands. The caves, ruins, the casino, the amusement parks, the thermal baths and of course the landscape around Valkenburg make the city known to almost all Dutch people.
Because tourism is important in Valkenburg, the city constantly renews itself to stay up to date. After refurbishing the inner city, the city is now focusing on the western part, the area where most attractions are located. TDAC was asked to create a vision for this area and to investigate how this area can be made more attractive for tourists, while balancing this with respect for the residents of this area.
Creating a tourism vision for a certain part of a city requires a tourism vision for the whole city. As this did not exist, we started with a group of key stakeholders to create a Theme Statement for Valkenburg as a tourist city. This statement could serve as the overall direction for tourism development in the city in the coming decades, and which provided us with a basis for the Vision of Valkenburg-West.
Creating a tourist vision in a city means that one of the most important stakeholders for this vision are the residents. We teamed up a local specialist in resident participation processes. Together, we researched the area, with TDAC concentrating on the tourism sector in combination with an analysis of the potential of the area for the creation of new tourism. We investigated the guest flows in the area, including the parking challenges. We investigated the possibility of creating attraction zones, that would respect the people living in the area. We drew up attraction matrices and organized several brainstorming sessions with entrepreneurs, residents and officials..
As a result, we jointly drew up the first vision for Valkenburg-West, which was presented to the municipal council.