The customer as tourist

For the drinking water utilities customers are not only drinking water consumers. As tourists they also use the nature areas that these organisations manage. What is the perception of the customer as tourists? And to what extent are tourists aware of the link between nature management and the drinking water system?

Water utilities as nature managers

The water utilities in the Netherlands own more than 20,000 hectares of nature areas, which they often also manage. This makes them the fifth largest nature manager in our country. These nature areas are not only important for the production of top-quality drinking water, but also represent a rich source of biodiversity. They offer tourists the possibility to enjoy nature. Certainly since the corona period many people have discovered this nature – including the dune areas – as a destination for a day’s outing. The pressure of tourism has as a result increased considerably, and disturbance to animal and plant life has become a growing problem. This is a worrying development because the protection of these areas and drinking water sources is vitally important to safeguarding the quality of drinking water, now and in the future.

The tourist

Up until now, the research projects of the Customer Thematic Group have always been based on the notion of the customer as a drinking water consumer. The objective has been to gain a better understanding of the person behind the water meter. The present research is directed primarily at the customer as tourist, with a view to learning more about his or her subjective perception. The central focus is on the awareness of the water system and source protection.

On the basis of qualitative interviews, the project investigates the extent to which tourists are aware of the vital link between nature management and the broader drinking water system. We also want to learn about the tourist’s conception of roles and responsibilities for water source protection. Is this part of nature management? And if so or not, why? Lastly, we explore how the tourists see their own role, as tourists and source protectors, and how they fulfil it.

Perception of relation between nature management and drinking water system

The above-mentioned interviews will produce the following:

  • Systematic insight into the subjective perception of the customer as tourists, and his/her conception of roles regarding nature management.
  • Empirical information about the understanding of the water system, sense of responsibility, and behaviour (intentions) regarding source protection, broken down by different tourist groups.
  • Concrete (communication) pointers to limit disturbances to nature and involve customers in the protection of sources, collected by means of a learning table.

De kwal: infiltratie in het duingebied van PWN, toegankelijk voor wandelaars.