Many Dutch service industry firms dismayed despite 2019 revenue growth

Oudegracht in Utrecht
Looking down the Oudegracht in the Utrecht city center. undatedbbsferrariDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The hotel and service industry finished 2019 with an estimated 3.9 percent growth in unadjusted turnover compared to a year earlier. Despite this, business owners in the field said they had serious concerns as they entered into 2020, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said on Friday.

Over 70 percent said they were struggling and stalled due to reasons like staff shortages, faltering demand, and poor weather. The number of service industry companies reporting a labor shortage has remained over 25 percent since the third quarter of 2018, according to the CBS.

The confidence of business owners has also consistently fallen since mid-2017, with just 0.2 percent of entrepreneurs now saying they are confident in the industry. That is the lowest point in six years, the CBS noted.

Seasonally adjusted, the industry's revenue growth was closer to 1.5 percent, the CBS said.

The food and beverage industry saw its fourth straight year of improving revenue. The segment combined for a 1.7 percent quarterly improvement, driven by a 2.6 percent increase in fast food purchases. Hotel turnover and revenue from other short stay rentals grew in the last quarter by 1.3 and 1.1 percent, respectively.