Christmas markets attract more visitors

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In the last couple of years more Dutch have visited a Christmas market. Once again busloads of shoppers cross the border to visit a German 'Weihnachtsmarkt'. The fairs with festive stalls and glühwein stands in the Netherlands are also expected do good business.The Dutch agency for Tourism & Congresses (NBTC-NIPO) counted 9.2 million Dutch Christmas market visitor in 2010 at home and abroad. Last years count showed an increase to 10 million visitors. The atmosphere, warmth, and coziness of the Christmas markets are in high demand, according to NBTC-NIPO. The variety in activities seems to increase also, according to a spokesperson.

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The Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham conducted a large study in October this year, commissioned by the discount website "kortingspagina.nl." The study estimates the number of visitors of the nine largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands alone at 9.9 million. 'We anticipate a growth of 15 to 20 percent in the number of visitors over the next few years,' said Maurice Buijs, founder of .

The Brits rank the Netherlands fourth in Europe, after Germany, Great Britain, and France, when it comes to Christmas markets. Especially the markets in Dordrecht, Haarlem, Maastricht, Nijmegen, and Valkenburg draw a lot of public. The average spending on these markets is around 16 euros per visit.

About 1 out of 5 Dutch visit a German Christmas market, as evidenced from the numbers from NBTC-NIPO. Cities close to the Netherlands, such as Düsseldorf, Aken, Keulen, and Münster, are popular destinations for Christmas shopping or to store food and beverages.

The estimated number of visitors to the German Christmas markets will be around 270 million. Some cities, including Munich, rely on a Christmas tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages. Germany's largest markets are accountable for a turnover of around 2.5 billion euros together, according to the Centre for Retail Research.

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