|River tourism development: the case of the port of Brussels|In: Research in Transportation Business & Management. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 2210-5395, more
River tourism; Scenario planning; Economic impact analysis; Brussels
River tourism becomes for many ports an important development area that often requires additional infrastructure investments. As such there is a need to understand whether such investments are legitimized by the expected economic impacts. To this end we develop a scenario planning method to assess the economic impacts of river tourism on a port region in terms of added value, created employment, port revenues, and fiscal impact. We illustrate the method through the case of Brussels, which involves desk research, 19 interviews with diverse stakeholders, macroeconomic data and workshops with senior port management. The case illustrates step-by-step how to determine economic impacts under different scenarios. We argue that such an exercise aids port managers with examining the business case for river tourism and to determine the optimal level of investments in river tourism infrastructure. We conclude by offering managerial recommendations and discuss how the method can be applied to other cases.