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Travel and tourism in the Netherlands - statistics and facts

In the Netherlands, the travel and tourism sector has become increasingly important to the Dutch economy. In 2019, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the Dutch GDP reached over 45 billion euros, its highest value since 2012. This sector is comprised of three major components: domestic, inbound, and outbound tourism. In terms of the tourism expenditure in the Netherlands, domestic tourism, which includes Dutch citizens traveling locally within the Netherlands, reported the highest expenditure in 2019. The second highest expenditure in 2019 came from inbound tourism, but this was heavily impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. The health crisis caused the number of inbound tourists in the Netherlands to decrease by nearly two thirds, thus resulting in a sharp drop in international tourism receipts in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam is the most popular destination for both domestic and international tourists

International tourists and domestic travelers that were able to travel in the Netherlands in 2020 showed a strong preference for the city of Amsterdam, which has long been a popular travel destination. The number of international hotel guests in Amsterdam reached over two million in 2020, while there were also nearly one million domestic hotel guests in Amsterdam the same year. Other popular destinations in the Netherlands for tourists included Rotterdam, The Hague, Maastricht, and Utrecht, though domestic travelers accounted for twice as many hotel guests in these cities than international tourists.

Prior to 2020, by far the most international tourists to the Netherlands arrived from the United Kingdom (UK) or Germany. The number of overnight guests in the Netherlands from the UK who stayed in Amsterdam in 2019 reached roughly one and a half million, and the number of overnight guests in the Netherlands from Germany followed close behind, with nearly one million guests also staying in Amsterdam that year.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact tourism in the Netherlands?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on the travel and tourism industry worldwide, as travel restrictions and social distancing measures forced many people to stay at home or travel only within their local community in 2020. The massive decline in tourists was reflected in the tourism industry’s revenue loss. While the Netherlands was not the country with the highest tourism revenue loss due to the pandemic, the country still reported a loss of nearly 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic, the number of international tourist arrivals in the Netherlands sharply declined, and while international tourism fluctuated during the remainder of 2020, the number of international arrivals never came close to the previous year’s values. International arrivals from all countries were affected by these travel restrictions. The number of international hotel guests in the Netherlands by continent of origin in 2020 reflected this, showing significant drops in arrivals from every continent, including the Netherlands’ home region of Europe.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 37 most important statistics relating to "Travel and tourism in the Netherlands".


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