In April and May 2021 an online survey was organized among residents in the Meuse Valley River Park, in both Belgium and the Netherlands, on both sides of the river. The results are positive: no less than 70% of the surveyed inhabitants support the development of tourism in the area! Moreover, it shows that the inhabitants are particularly fond of their region and want the unique nature to be protected. Half of them also want to contribute, by for example, collecting litter or showing visitors where to go.
Almost 80% of the respondents felt that the proximity of the Meuse River, the peaceful environment and nature make their living area more attractive. People consider the presence of wildlife equally important as the hospitality industry in the area.
There are some discrepancies in the results. Municipalities where tourism is more developed, score higher in terms of support for tourism. In municipalities with large areas of new nature the inhabitants first want to discover the beauty of their environment themselves. It is clear that all residents believe that the area should remain a tourist destination, with nature experience being most popular.
The results of this study fit in with the plans to focus on people who want to enjoy nature by hiking and general water recreation in the Meuse Valley River Park. People claim that that there is already more than enough bicycle recreation.
With these results, the partners in the Meuse Valley River Park will continue to work on developing a flourishing touristic destination where tourism is tailored to the area and where the focus is on added value, rather than on 'more'. A place where residents, visitors and entrepreneurs can experience the beauty along the Meuse in a qualitative manner.