Tourism in Netherlands up 9 percent; biggest increase in 12 years

Tourists in Amsterdam (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Steven Lek)Tourists in Amsterdam (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Steven Lek)

The number of tourists that stayed in accommodation in the Netherlands last year increased by nearly 9 percent to 42 million. That is the strongest growth since 2006, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Wednesday.

Statistics Netherlands' figures do not include overnight stays in accommodations with fewer than five rooms, which means that most tourists booking accommodation through online platforms like Airbnb are not included in these figures.

The number of foreign tourists visiting the Netherlands last year increased by 13 percent to 17.8 million in 2017. Together they spent 44 million nights in Dutch accommodation, an increase of 11 percent. A total of 24.4 million Dutch tourists spent 67.8 million nights in accommodations in the Netherlands, increases of 6 and 2 percent respectively. 

The most foreign tourists visited Noord-Holland, and Amsterdam in particular, in 2017. With 6.7 million foreign hotel guests, Amsterdam was by far the most popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands last year. 37 percent of all foreign tourists visited the Dutch capital in 2017. Partly because of this, Noord-Holland is the only province in the Netherlands with more foreign visitors than Dutch visitors.

Nearly 80 percent of foreign tourists came from within Europe last year. More than half of them came from the Netherlands' neighboring countries of Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Visitors from these three countries accounted for 64 percent of all overnight stays by foreign visitors. Most intercontinental tourists came from America (11 percent) and the Asian continent (8 percent). The number of American tourists increased by 22 percent, and Asian tourists increased by 25 percent. 

Tourism is a substantial sector in the Dutch economy. In 2016 the total tourist spending amounted to 75.7 billion euros, 3.9 percent of the gross domestic product. Tourism accounts for 641 thousand jobs in the Netherlands.