Tourism & Leisure

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Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic activities, providing social and physical development as well as profitable investment and trade.


In these modern times, our world is one world. Exploring and experiencing everything it has to offer is now a global phenomenon, making tourism one of the world’s largest economic activities and providing social and physical development as well as profitable investment and trade. Eco and cultural tourism now also help protect and celebrate some of the world’s most precious ecosystems and magnificent monuments.

Atkins is one of the largest multidisciplinary consultancies in the world, working throughout the built and natural environment.

Our integrated multidisciplinary teams tackle planning, design, engineering and environmental projects of all kinds and sizes, from initial study to completion, for both public and private sector clients.

We have an established reputation for providing imaginative, practical and independent advice. Our holistic approach to understanding the complexities of a brief, solving problems and responding to opportunities, is at once pragmatic and innovative, ensuring our solutions are balanced, people-friendly and sustainable.

We have world-wide experience in all aspects of tourism including:

  • Eco, cultural and heritage tourism, including World Heritage Sites and conservation management
  • Strategic and regional tourism strategies and infrastructure planning
  • Resort masterplanning
  • Hotels and cruise ships, sports and health facilities, convention centres
  • Social development and assessment



Atkins has a wealth of experience within the tourism and leisure sector, working on iconic projects throughout the world from designing luxury hotels like the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to providing management advice for World Heritage Sites like the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

Areas of expertise include:

Sustainable, eco, cultural and heritage tourism

We work to ensure that our natural environment, culture and heritage can be appreciated and enjoyed by all. Our experts provide such services as:

  • World Heritage Site nomination and management advice
  • Museums and archives advice and design
  • Tourism strategy and development
  • Audience development, interpretation and access consultancy
  • Conservation management
  • Ecological assessment, interpretation and solutions

Resort masterplanning

We have produced concept masterplans and developed design proposals for a number of luxury resorts throughout the world. We take an innovative approach to our designs, making sure we protect the unique character and setting of each site and ensuring they provide social and economic sustainability, eco-mobility and environmental enhancements.


Atkins is one of the world’s leading architectural firms. As well as spanning the pragmatic, practical design of schools and hospitals, our work covers the glamour and visual excitement of high-rise commercial and residential resorts and towers. We are the experts behind some of the worlds most beautiful and luxurious hotel resorts such as the Songjiang Shimao Hotel in China and the iconic Burj Al Arab in Dubai.


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A third of Copenhageners commute daily to work or school by bicycle and it is not unusual to see people in suits, high heels and skirts effortlessly pedaling past. And this is exactly the image the City of Copenhagen wants to keep in people’s mind when they think of Copenhagen. During the next decade, the goal is to have 50% of all Copenhageners bike daily (and/or use more public transportation). Today’s modal split for cyclists is 41% in the city centre and Amsterdam is up at 48%. To reach the ambitious goal, Copenhagen needs (almost) zero growth in car traffic and at the same time a dramatic effort in public transport and cycling infrastructure. Many of the easy improvements to get more people to bike have already been rolled out, and the next step must address some more challenging problems. The City of Copenhagen concludes three fundamental elements that must be in place to increase cycling in the Danish capital: • accessibility – both for slow and fast cyclists • more and better bicycle parking at stations and shopping areas • safety and sense of security for cyclists. Common for them all is the lack of space. As an example, the bike path on the bridge Knippelsbro today constitutes 33% of the total space of the road while the number of cyclists here are 55% of all drivers, according to the municipality's review of cycling conditions in Copenhagen. Furthermore, car parking at street level occupies twice as much space in general as the entire network of bicycle infrastructure. A new report

UK & Europe ,

Larry Levis
31 Oct 2016

What inspires us to travel is the experience rather than the journey. We crave adventure, excitement, and immersing ourselves in new cultures and new landscapes to escape the drudgery of the mundane. This is especially true for millennials—the fastest growing market for cruise companies and resorts—who tend to value experience over ownership and authenticity over the simulated. Today, the growing challenge for the cruise industry in port development is to strike the right balance between offering an exciting recreational experience, good shopping and dining opportunities, and preserving the authenticity and local experience of the destination—all while seamlessly moving 10,000 guest-tourists through the location.  Atkins has been privileged to help several clients solve this challenge by creating well thought-out destination ports and entertainment districts. We’ve served as designer/program manager on two of the highest-rated new cruiseport destinations in the world—Amber Cove (Maimon, Dominican Republic) and Mahogany Bay (Roatan, Honduras). In addition, Atkins developed an island-wide master plan for Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos), a globally renowned scuba diving and cruise ship destination. Each project serves as a “welcome village” to the thousands of cruise passengers making day-long port-of-call visits, several times a week. Amber Cove: an authentic and inviting portal to a beautiful country The Dominican Republic, the most visited destination in the Caribbean, offers an abundance of natural beauty and historical treasures. The Amber Cove Cruise Terminal was designed to serve as a public space, organized around a central grand piazza, complete with open-air markets where locals come to sell their goods. Unlike the

North America ,

Mike McNicholas
26 Jul 2016

The Rio 2016 Games opens next week. Can you believe it’s been four years since the London 2012 Games? Four years since the Olympics and Paralympics were all any engineer or designer in London could talk about. Four years since our industry came together to deliver best in class infrastructure that put London on the world stage in a big way. When I look back on our London 2012 work I’m reminded of the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger). We really took this to heart when we were working on the Games, and pushed ourselves to deliver everything better – to be quicker, more agile and efficient and to do everything at a better quality. Everything we did had to be fit not only for the needs of the Games, but for the needs of future visitors and residents to East London. As we prepare for this wonderful summer of sport to reach its crescendo I think now is a good time to reflect on what London 2012 can teach us about delivering infrastructure for London in 2016.  If we treated every other infrastructure project in London like we did the Olympics just think what we could achieve. Building 50,000 Homes a year, for example, would be planned, managed and delivered just like the Olympics, with everyone moving in the same direction and committed to an excellent outcome, in a challenging timeframe. There are a few basic approaches I believe we can take on other London infrastructure

UK & Europe ,

Liam Harrison
25 Jul 2016

As the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics fast approaches it’s prompted me to look back at London 2012 and reflect on its lasting legacy. As HR business partner for Atkins at the time I was heavily involved in our work around skills, both the development of our staff working on the project and bringing in fresh talent to the engineering industry. The London Olympics set a new engineering standard, both here in the UK and internationally. It was a fantastic opportunity for Atkins staff working on such a largescale infrastructure project and those lessons learnt and personal developments have been incorporated and benefiting subsequent projects ever since. However, the skills legacy of London 2012 that I’m most proud of is definitely the impact it’s had on bringing young people into the engineering industry. Inspiring the next generation of engineers to build a sustainable future is critical to both the success of Atkins and wider society. This was emphasised in Atkins’ recent report, ‘The skills deficit: consequences and opportunities for UK infrastructure’. The publication predicts that infrastructure projects in the UK could experience higher costs, delays, or poor decision making and project delivery in coming years due to a lack of scientists, engineers and technicians. Recognising that one of the key factors in the success of the London Olympics was the impact Atkins and our partners had on the local community, Atkins set up our Pathways to Engineering programme, providing work experience, training and support for young people, parents and teachers

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To prepare for the 2014 Youth Olympics, the Nanjing City called for an International Design Competition to revitalize a scenic waterfront and green belt zone along the Yangtze River. Atkins was awarded the first prize. The challenge of the project was finding a resilient solution to integrate the individual lots, open space and landscape features which stretched along the river for 30 km and covered 11 hectares of land into one comprehensive piece. Atkins’ proposal provokes innovative waterfront planning strategies to reclaim the lost space and provide diverse recreational opportunities. In line with the requirements of the 2014 Youth Olympics and new developments along the south shore of Nanjing, an iconic area in Nanjing’s riverfront comprising and consolidating recreation, tourism, ecology, transit and culture regimens will be completed in the near future.

China ,

The IMX project site lies within the world-class Hongqiao Transportation Hub, which connects the airport, high speed rail and Shanghai public transit system. The winning Atkins concept architecturally expresses international trade and creates places and spaces where people exchange goods and ideas, thus creating optimal opportunities for the IMX brand to create wealth. The contract will also see Atkins develop its iconic architectural designs for the IMX exhibition centre and supporting commercial development covering approximately 150,000 square metres. All buildings within the Atkins masterplan have been designed to meet or exceed China’s three-star Green Building Standard.

China ,

After 25 years of serving the community with its iconic water flumes Coral Reef Waterworld is being revolutionised as part of Bracknell Forest Council’s pledge to invest in the long term future of the borough. Atkins has been appointed to prepare a concept design to completely transform Coral Reef. The project includes the demolition and complete removal of the existing timber glulam beam roof over the main pool hall and replacement with a new steel truss roof which will be split into two sections with a centrally located roof light running its length. The existing ancillary roofs over the changing village, Sauna World and Coconut Grove (café) will be overhauled and repaired and the existing ride tower will be demolished with a new tower featuring a launch platform at 12.5m will be constructed. Five new flumes will also be built and supplemented with audio visual special effects systems. Having welcomed more than 10 million visitors since its opening in 1989 the new iconic fume rides will ensure the longevity and continued success of Coral Reef Waterworld for many years to come.

UK ,

The Rocky Mountain Greenway connects three Denver metro area National Wildlife Refuges with a continuous trail system between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds, and Rocky Flats in the northwest Denver metro area. The project is part of a larger vision, the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which seeks to reconnect Americans with the country’s natural resources. The Rocky Mountain Greenway was first announced in 2011 by Colorado Governor Hickenlooper and then‐Interior Secretary Salazar to close gaps in existing trail networks and develop new trails. To support this project, Atkins coordinated across numerous jurisdictions and agencies. We completed feasibility studies to identify the best options to connect the wildlife refuges and extend Denver’s existing greenway trail network and prepared preliminary cost estimates to aid in prioritizing projects and developing improvement packages. Atkins also provided final design and completed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for the seven-mile portion of trail spanning Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge in Arvada and the Great Western Open Space in Broomfield.  The trail system is expected to extend to Rocky Mountain National Park in the future, creating an 80-mile long continuous route. The completed trail network would link thousands of acres of public lands together, connecting metropolitan residents to the vast natural areas surrounding them—passing through more than 10 municipalities, six counties, and four federal land areas. A grand opening ceremony for the completion of the continuous 25‐mile stretch between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and the southeastern portion of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge took

USA , North America ,

The 450-foot long pier sits within a highly visible, narrow manmade navigational channel between Miami Beach and Fisher Island. The channel is the main entrance to PortMiami, the world’s leading cruise port and Florida’s largest container port. Approximately 20 million vacationing passengers travel through the channel to vacation destinations such as, Bahamas, Caribbean, and Mexico. Because of the high visibility of the pier, it was important to honor local aesthetics. Atkins carefully considered every facet of the pier’s redesign. 338-feet of designated fishing areas were incorporated. Durable concrete benches and two canopy structures were installed. Aluminum bar grading covers the pier’s subfloor and is topped with Ipe wood in South Pointe’s signature honeycomb pattern. Protecting the local sea life was also a priority. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)-approved, turtle friendly lighting was used throughout the pier to minimize impacts on hatching sea turtles. To protect corals and water quality, Atkins prepared an Avoidance and Minimization Plan (AMP), which served as a guide for the construction contractor to address construction impacts. Corals were relocated to an artificial reef recipient site west of the pier. 29 coral-encrusted rock boulders within the project footprint were also relocated to the same site. Potential water quality impacts were addressed in a turbidity monitoring plan. Complex environmental conditions required permitting approvals from multiple agencies. Land and water rights, held by the City, state, and federal government, had to be updated prior to construction. Atkins used its longstanding relationships and experience with regulatory agencies to ensure all requirements

Dominican Republic , USA ,

This two-berth cruise terminal on the north coast of the Dominican Republic is capable of accommodating up to two post-Panamax cruise vessels, which translates to roughly 10,000 visitors a day. Carnival Corporation estimates eight of its brands will make 140 calls on the port, with 23 ships throughout its first year of operation. In addition to planning, landscape design, architecture, and engineering services for Amber Cove’s structures and amenities, we also designed roadways and the transportation hub that helps visitors take onshore excursions and explore outlying points of interest. The development also includes hillside waterslides overlooking the 5-acre pool/lazy river recreation area, a zipline, a series of shops and restaurants, a destination duty-free shop, and a hilltop food and beverage establishment with a 360-degree ramp access from below. Echoing the culture and existing architecture in the area, we incorporated modern interpretations of historical periods of significance for the Puerto Plata province. Visitors perusing the 25-acre waterfront development will enjoy an architectural nod to the fortified 16th century, classical-colonial 18th century, and Victorian late 19th century in 25 buildings and multiple landscapes. Atkins also incorporated features that promote self-sufficiency and sustainability including rooftop rainwater harvesting, seawater desalination, a wastewater treatment plant to minimize environmental impacts, and backup generators to ensure uninterrupted utility service.

Dominican Republic , North America ,

The redevelopment of the port will transform Muscat’s current commercial port into Oman’s premier waterfront destination ensuring integration with and enhancement of adjacent historically sensitive areas including Muttrah and Harat Al Shamal. With a GFA of approximately 350,000 m2 new mixed use area, the new port hopes to support the government’s drive towards a diversified economy by creating up to 5,000 direct jobs and accommodating up to 10,000 visitors per day. The redevelopment will enable increased international cruise liner arrivals and has the potential to operate as a dedicated home port.

Oman ,

To most people, the M25 is 440km of motorway, a daily commute or a punchline.  But to a small group of specialists it is most visible as a stream of data. From thousands of cameras and other sensors, they see progress, air quality, climate, accidents and repairs.  In June 2015, Atkins teams in London, India and the US joined forces with innovation partners Fluxx and Connect Plus Services, the organisation that manages the M25, to develop innovative ways to use this data to improve the lives of commuters.   The brief was simple; deliver intelligent interventions to improve travel experiences “I know the pain that people suffer on the M25, and seeing the data that we collect being used in a completely different way, the benefits it unlocks, is brilliant,” said Tim Hughes, Intelligent Mobility product manager at Atkins. This event, organised by the Atkins Digital Incubator, represented a new way of working. “How do we drive value more quickly?” asks Atkins' CDO Richard Cross, “Not spend months thinking, but develop something quickly, experiment and improve?” “What’s crucial is having the transport planners in the room,” said product manager Ashkan Miri. “They’re working directly with developers to build the vision of the product they’re working on.” To learn more about digital engineering or book a visit to the Atkins Digital Incubator, contact Gary Wilson:

UK ,


For more information on the work we carry out within the tourism and leisure sector please contact:

UK & Europe

Tourism/resort masterplanning     
Paj Valley
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 121 483 5815

Cultural tourism          
Janet Miller
United Kingdom

Eco tourism
Robert Whitcombe
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1372 75 4472

Middle East

Matthew Tribe
United Arab Emirates

North America

United States of America
Tel: +1 800 477 7275



In this section you can find thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the tourism & leisure sector.

Title Format Size
Tourism brochure pdf 7.9MB

In this section you can find thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the tourism & leisure sector.

Title Format Size
Between sand and sea pdf 318KB
Go with the flow: London 2012 pdf 241KB
Island life pdf 350KB
Oman oasis pdf 255KB
Square route pdf 186KB


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