70% fewer foreign tourists visit NL this year
A total of around 7 million foreign tourists will visit the Netherlands this year, the Netherlands' office for tourism and conventions NBTC said on Monday. That is 70 percent less than last year, and a massive blow compared to the record of nearly 22 million foreign visitors that were expected at the start of this year.
Expectations were high for tourism this year, due to a number of large events that were scheduled in the Netherlands. But the Formula 1 race in Zandvoort, the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, and the European Football Championship, which would partly have been played in Amsterdam, all had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic also meant lockdowns and travel restrictions keeping travelers away.
According to NBTC director Jos Vranken, 7 million foreign tourists per year is comparable to the tourism figures of the 1990s. "Almost the entire tourism sector is still in a deep valley and this will remain so for the time being. We do not expect to be able to speak of recovery until 2024," Vranken said.
Netherlands residents are also vacationing less in their own country, the NBTC said. The number of Dutch vacationing in the Netherlands decreased by 36 percent compared to 2019.
Travelers also plan to vacation less next year, the NBTC said. "People remain very reticent and cautious in their travel behavior," Vranken said. In addition to being reluctant to go on holiday, those booking vacations want bookings with flexible cancellation options, he added.
"This has a huge impact for tourism entrepreneurs. The importance of support measures and targeted investments in the sustainable recovery of the tourism sector remains unabated," Vranken said.