On Tuesday 13/01/2014 we intervied local people on the island to understand their interaction with the tourists, their main interests and activities and ask about what they think of our proposal.
Hanneke Keyser is working at the VVV tourist information point at Den Burg and was willing to answer our questions:
Q: What is the age of most tourists?
A: We have tourists of all ages. From young people around 20 to older people.
Q: What seems to be most interesting for tourists about the island?
A: Through discussions with the tourists and the website that we have and tourists describe their feelings about the island, it seems that they mostly prefer Texel for the peaceful environment and the nature. They forget about the stress and the life in the city and relax on Texel.
Q: What directions do you give to the tourists when they first come here?
A: There are a lot of visitors that don't know exactly what to do and he help them by describing the possibilities and then they choose to start with an activity and then more can follow. But there are also people that have heard of a specific thing and they ask for it.
Q: Do you organise any special activities?
A: There are a lot of events going on on Texel depending on the season, for example last year we dedicated June to culture, so artists located pieces of art around the city having sheep as concept.
Q: Are there any cycling routes of different interest?
A: Yes. There are a lot of routes that a cyclist can follow and each has a different focus. There is the route for nature, for the dunes, for local food and products,etc (she also gave us a lot of leaflets and maps). Most of the tourists rent bikes and choose to follow some routes from the program. There is not an organised group every time, so it can be a couple, a small group of friends or a larger one. All streets have different number so one doesn't even need a map. He can remember the numbers and just look at the right number at the junctions.
Q: How much time do visitors spend on island?
A: Many visitors come every year at the island and spend several days. They use it as a way out of the routine. There are also others that have a tour to all the islands, so they spend one day on Texel and then they continue with the other islands. For the ones coming and wanting to visit all the attractions, they mostly can go around all the island in two or three days
Tuesday 13/01/2015 there was an interview with Bart de Witte of Staatsbosbeheer (Forestry commission) Texel in an old bunker on a hill in De Geul. There was a lot of talking about different subjects like the physical changes of the island, Staatsbosbeheer itself and their activities and the nature of Texel. From this we also learned about the link of the nature, Staatsbosbeheer and tourists.
Most tourists on Texel come for the nature and tranquility. While most of these just go on cycling or walking on their own throughout the dunes, beach or island itself, Staatsbosbeheer also organizes some guided tours and activities. With these tours and activities they fund the personnel which in turn maintain the nature on Texel, even though this is not an opulence. If the budget allows it they also improve current paths. Halfway through 2014 some paths were improved to make them accessible for wheelchair users and buggies for example.
Regarding tourists it became clear that the participants of these tours and activities are from all age groups, not only elderly people. Also, since the participants of these tours and activities are not particularly numerous, they are looking on new activities to keep the income to pay for the maintenance. For this they are open to new initiatives (like GPS tours), also from the mainland. Staatsbosbeheer Texel has the mindset, the nature knowledge and the experience. They mostly miss the technical knowledge, for which they are open from others than Staatsbosbeheer.