Wednesday 23 September 2020

Tourist numbers above 42 million, not counting the Airbnb crowd

The number of foreign and domestic tourists in the Netherlands rose above 42 million in 2017, an increase of 9% and the sharpest growth rate since 2006, the national statistics office CBS reported on Wednesday.

The figures are based on overnight stays but do not include visitors staying in accommodation with fewer than five guests. This means the substantial number of Airbnb travellers and those booking through other online platforms are excluded from total numbers, the CBS said.

The increase was mainly due to foreign tourists who totalled nearly 18 million in 2017, an increase of 13% year-on-year. Tourists from Germany, Belgium and Britain accounted for two-thirds of all overnight stays by foreigners, the CBS said.
About 20% of tourists were from the US and Asia.

As every year, foreign tourists stayed overnight in Amsterdam in Noord-Holland province and tourism to other parts of the country is relatively stable, although Germans are fond of the Dutch coast.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam has been developing a policy to encourage tourists to leave the busy city centre and visit other parts of the city, as well as nearby attractions such as Amsterdam beach (Zandvoort) and Amsterdam castle (Muiderslot).

National government has also embarked on its HollandCity campaign to encourage tourists to see more of the country.

Out of hand

Tourism expert Stephen Hodes told the Parool: ‘Amsterdam will become uninhabitable unless we take action. The rest of the country is happy with the growth. But things are getting out of hand in Amsterdam. The city is becoming inaccessible and unaffordable.’

Foreign tourists, Hodes said, want to visit Amsterdam and efforts to encourage visitors to other parts of the country are unlikely to have much effect. What is needed, he said, is ‘radical measures to stop the growth. Permit fewer flights, set quotas for hotel rooms, no more cruise ships.’

City council

Efforts to reduce the impact of tourism also have a role in the ongoing talks to put together a new Amsterdam city government.

Rutger Groot Wassink, the leader of GroenLinks in the city, is pressing for a halt to construction of new hotels in the centre and tougher regulations for Airbnb and similar platforms. The city should also actively invest in encouraging people to go elsewhere, he told BNR radio.

The CBS calculates the tourism sector generated  €75.7bn or 3.9% of total GDP in 2017 and provided jobs for 641,000 people.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.