City Mondial: Looking Forward from the Past
Using a multicultural history to support local business development and tourism strategies
How a city presents itself to its residents and visitors is a good reflection of how it sees its past, its present and its future. It is also a good position from which to develop its local business development priorities and tourism strategy.
In addition to classic sites such as the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis in Dutch) and the Mauritshuis museum, visitors to The Hague are also encouraged to experience the contribution and culture of the over 123 nationalities and ethnic groups living within the city. This expanded tourism focus is the result of the City Mondial program.
City Mondial is a multicultural tourist information centre that offers walking tours to introduce visitors (and residents) to Turkish mosques, Hindu temples and the local multicultural markets located within the Hague. The walking tours also go through the diverse neighbourhoods of the city, such as the Schilderswijk, Transvaal and Stationsbuurt – where more than 80% of the population are of non-Dutch ethnic background.
A Deliberate Decision…
The creation of the City Mondial program was part of the Hague’s strategy to use the international character of the city to increase where and how tourism dollars were being spent
Working with local entrepreneurs and businesses, the local government used City Mondial to offer fun opportunities for both residents and tourists to learn more about the different cultures that have settled in the city and simultaneously support more local business development.
City Mondial offers a variety of programs including guided tours through Chinatown or through the Transvaal area to see the Indian goldsmith shops and visit the Ram Mandir Hindu temple. One of the most popular programs is a chef-led visit to the De HaguesMarkt (the biggest market in Europe) to pick out the ingredients for special ethnic dishes to use later in a City Mondial organized cooking class.
In addition to creating stronger ties between local government and the different ethnic communities – City Mondial has also brought significant new purchasing power into these areas.
Neighborhoods featured as part of they City Mondial tour offer have received over 200,000 visitors a year and seen a 60% increase in the number of businesses in the area.
The City Mondial program has also encouraged Hague residents to become more involved with their surroundings and promotes engagement and citizenship within the city by helping to foster understanding and bonds between cultures.
Rabin Baldewsingh, Deputy Mayor for Citizenship explained, “This bond should form a bridge between residents with one another and residents with their neighbourhood and the local government.”
Making it Work for You:
- Consider how your city or town could incoporate a more international and diverse angle to your tourism strategy and start to showcase all commnities and cultures within the city - in addition to supporting the local businesses located in those areas
- Tourism is not just for visitors! Consider programs and campaigns that encourage residents to explore their own city further
For this Good Idea contact:
Raheela Bhatti, The City Mondial Tourist Office
The Hague, The Netherlands,
+31 (0)70 402 33 36