The impact of coronavirus on travel and events in the Netherlands is beginning to be felt, with events being cancelled and holiday firms reporting fewer bookings than normal for the time of year.
The organisers of The Next Web conference have decided to delay this year’s Amsterdam flagship event until October 1 and 2, 2020 due to growing concerns about coronavirus. This decision was made after consulting with the local government, partners, and staff, the organisation said in a statement.
‘I hope the world will be able to take adequate action, and that the spread of the virus will soon be contained,’ said founder and chief executive Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten. ‘Moving forward we’ll focus all of our efforts on making our event in October even better.’
On Monday, holiday airline Transavia said it is cutting some flights to Italy because of the lack of bookings.
‘It is not that bookings have dried up entirely but the regions at the centre are taking a big hit,’ Frank Oostdam, director of the ANVR travel sector association told broadcaster NOS.
The Dutch foreign ministry has recommended against travel to China and parts of Italy because of the prevalence of coronavirus.
And while not many people have gone as far as to cancel their holiday many people have been inquiring about the option, he said. ‘Some 99.9% of bookings cannot be cancelled without any costs,’ he said.
Nevertheless, some 10% of the ANVR’s 325 member travel agencies and tour operators have requested permission to lay off some workers on a temporary basis under the special government scheme to deal with crises. Their wages will then be topped up from social security funds.
The public health institute has already said there is as yet no need to cancel large public events and the Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled to take place in Rotterdam in May, does not yet need to be postponed.
Any decision to do so will be up to the local health board, under current protocol, the spokesman told broadcaster NOS.
Companies are booking fewer business trips with one agency, VCK Travel, telling NOS that bookings are down 10% this week.
Hotels in Maastricht have also reported a slight rise in cancellations for stays during the annual Tefaf art and antiques fair, NOS said.
Meanwhile, the shortage of face masks has led to the Acta school of dentistry in Amsterdam cancelling some sessions and prioritising emergency and ongoing treatment programmes.
‘If we continue as normal, we will only have stocks for three or four weeks,’ spokesman Frank Abbas said.
Some 300 to 500 patients a day are treated at the teaching hospital.
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