2021 sees slight increase in tourism, but figures remain shockingly low

2021 sees slight increase in tourism, but figures remain shockingly low

The Dutch tourism industry took a serious whack following the outbreak of coronavirus last year. While the figures are looking slightly better this year, most holidaymakers this spring were residents of the Netherlands, and various industries continue to struggle from a lack of tourism. 

Effect of COVID-19 on Dutch tourism industry

In the second quarter of 2021, approximately 900.000 people travelled to the Netherlands for a holiday - slightly more than the figure reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) for the same period last year, but only a fraction of the number in April, May and June of 2019 (5,9 million). 

While international tourism is yet to fully take off following the outbreak of COVID-19, domestic tourism appears to be flourishing. Spring 2021 saw 7,3 residents of the Netherlands opt for holidays closer to home, a similar figure to the one reported by CBS in 2019. The provinces of Friesland and Zeeland profited the most from domestic tourism, while North Holland and Amsterdam saw the biggest dip in figures in comparison to pre-coronavirus (-68 percent).

April to June 2021 saw over eight million overnight stays in the Netherlands, double that of 2020 but also 40 percent fewer than in 2019. While the Netherlands proved a particularly popular holiday destination for travellers from neighbouring countries like Germany, the country lost out on business from travellers from the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

Museums and restaurants struggle from lack of tourists

With so many businesses across the country relying on the Netherlands' normally booming tourism industry to keep them afloat, it’s unsurprising to hear that a variety of companies have struggled over the past year. 

The Dutch capital is home to a staggering number of bars and restaurants, most of which are only able to survive as a result of the millions of tourists Amsterdam welcomes every year. These businesses suffered not only during the various coronavirus lockdowns, but also from a serious lack of customers. Financial aid from the Dutch government prevented thousands of bankruptcies, but the national catering industry shrank by 40,6 percent over the past year and a half. 

The Royal Delft Group, famous for the Royal Delft Museum in Delft and the making of traditional Delft blue porcelain, has seen profits plummet as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While the lifting of lockdown at the start of June has given the company some hope for the future, turnover fell by 14 percent last year and sales remain low.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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