Friday 14 May 2021

Foreign tourist numbers fell 65% last year, as Covid-19 disrupted foreign travel

Tourists in the village of Winsum last summer. Photo:

The number of tourists coming to the Netherlands last year fell by 65% as coronavirus-related travel restrictions squeezed out foreign holidays.

In total, seven million foreign visitors came to the Netherlands in 2020, the national tourist board NBTC said on Monday.

Domestic visitor numbers were also down, despite the apparent surge in staycations. In total, Dutch hotels, campsites and holiday home companies reported a 25% downturn in visitors from home.

NBTC research suggests that seven in 10 people in the Netherlands and the key Dutch markets including Belgium, Germany, France and Britain, plan to go on holiday this year.

However, just 20% have actually booked a holiday so far, NBTC director Jos Vranken said. ‘People do have an enormous need to go on holiday… but are very reticent to actually book holidays in advance, and that is worrying for the sector.’

The research shows only two in five Dutch people think a holiday abroad will be possible in 2021.

Vranken expects a 30% rise on 2020’s foreign visitor total this year, if foreign travel is allowed.

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