Dutch tourism office wants free coronavirus tests for arriving tourists
The Dutch office for tourism NBTC thinks the government should compensate tourists arriving in the Netherlands for the coronavirus test they had to do before coming to the country. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis showed that every euro the Netherlands spends on covering the costs of these tests, will be amply recouped by the money tourists spend in the country, NBTC director Jos Vranken said to BNR.
According to the NBTC, over 4.1 million foreign tourists are expected to visit the Netherlands in 2021. Based on the average spending pattern, that will mean 2.1 billion euros flowing into the economy, of which 380 million will go directly to the treasury. And that still excludes the taxes on tourism and day trippers.
Vranken believes that making the mandatory coronavirus tests free of charge will make the Netherlands even more attractive to tourists. "Think of it as a kind of cashback promotion that can contribute to advertising for the Netherlands," he said to the broadcaster.
The NBTC also recommended that the government give Dutch travelers free coronavirus tests when they leave the Netherlands to travel abroad. According to the office, some 2 million Netherlands residents plan to travel abroad this year. They'll have to go to a commercial party to get tested for the coronavirus, and get a travel declaration if they test negative. The cost of this can amount to above 100 euros per person per trip, according to BNR.
According to the NBTC, about 70 percent of Netherlands residents want to go on holiday this year. Nearly 40 percent plan to keep their holidays domestic. Half of Netherlands residents said they would only travel abroad again after they've been vaccinated against Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
The Dutch travel industry is struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. In the first quarter of this year, tour operators and travel agencies saw their turnover decrease by 65.1 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2020. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of significant losses for the travel industry, Statistics Netherlands said on Tuesday.