Record high number of tourists visited the Netherlands in 2012

According to new figures from the Dutch Bureau of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), over 11,7 million tourists visited the Netherlands in 2012, an increase of 4% over the previous year as well as a new record high. These tourists spent 4,75 billion euros, another record high.

As in previous years, the majority of these tourists came from Germany, the United Kingdom and Belgium. The highest growth in tourist numbers, however, came from Asian countries: 23% more Japanese and Chinese tourists and 16% more Indian tourists visited the Netherlands last year than in 2011. Meanwhile, the number of tourists from countries with struggling economies, like Italy and Spain, decreased last year.

The growth in tourist numbers can be attributed to a few key factors, including the increased popularity of city travel within Europe, a small increase in the number of flight connections, and the rise of the middle class in Asia. Moreover, the weaker euro made Europe and the Netherlands more attractive as travel destinations.

Jos Vranken, the director of NBTC, commented, "We are pleased with the 4% growth in the number of international visitors. At the same time we worry about the lag in spending. In general visitors are very price conscious and spending on transportation, accommodation and entertainment are under pressure."

NBTC expects tourist numbers to rise another 3% in 2013, bringing the total to over 12 million. Further growth in tourist numbers is expected from both mature markets and BRIC countries, and all the anniversaries festivities coming up this year are expected to bring even more visitors to the Netherlands.

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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