Tourism numbers in the Netherlands set to explode to 29 million by 2030

Tourism numbers in the Netherlands set to explode to 29 million by 2030

According to the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC), the number of foreign tourists in the Netherlands is set to soar in the coming years. In 2017, 18 million tourists from abroad visited the Netherlands. In 2030, this number is expected to have skyrocketed to 29 million!

Millions of tourists in the Netherlands

If these forecasts are correct, that means that tourist numbers will have increased by 60 percent in just 11 years. Foreign tourist numbers are not the only ones expected to rise. The NBTC predicts an increase that the number of inland tourists will increase from the 24 million last year, to 31 million in 2030.

Whilst the expected growth in tourism numbers creates opportunities, it also creates difficulties at the same time. According to NBTC director Jos Vranken, many places in the Netherlands are not profiting enough from tourism, whilst other places are experiencing nuisances because of it.

Tourism is an important source of income for the Netherlands. In 2017, visitors spent 12,9 billion euros, says the NBTC. A few Dutch cities were by far the most popular amongst tourists, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Amsterdam unsurprisingly takes first place as the most popular, followed by Rotterdam, The Hague, Maastricht and Utrecht.

Tackling the tourist numbers

“A new strategy is needed to deal with the increasing tourism numbers, with the goal being that everyone profits from tourism, residents as well as visitors and businesses,” states Vranken. Additionally, he expresses that more cities and regions should be seen as attractive in the coming decades and good accessibility, along with less waste and pollution and a welcoming tourism sector are at the top of the NBTC list of priorities.

On Wednesday, October 10, the first Tourism Top summit was held in Deventer. The summit was a gathering of some 120 organisations and looked at the potential for tourism in the Netherlands and the growth forecasts. At the conference, Vranken presented his “Perspective 2030, a new vision of the Netherlands as a destination”.

In a letter to parliament in March, State Secretary for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer stated that visitors need to be spread across the country. According to Keijzer, “[t]he goal is to lure visitors to less well-known places in the country. This way, the hustle and bustle at well-known spots is reduced and as many regions as possible can profit from the economic opportunities.”

Since 2015, the Netherlands has actively tried to spread tourists around the country by trying to get them to spend a day at the beach or in a different city. However, the NBTC recognises that this policy only works to a certain extent and a follow-up has to be put in place. Said follow-up is one of the most important subjects during the summit.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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