Fourteen million tourists in 2014
January 22, 2015
NBTC Holland Marketing estimates that close to 14 million international tourists visited our country in 2014. This is a 10 percent increase compared to 2013. Most of the visitors came from Germany, while China showed the biggest growth percentage-wise. NBTC expects some four percent more visitors in 2015, a forecast of 14.5 million international visitors this year.
The 14 million foreign visitors spent well over 34.6 million nights in Holland (+9%). This makes 2014 another record year for Holland. Most of the foreign tourists hailed from Germany, just like in previous years. Well over 3.9 million Germans visited our country in 2014 (+12%). Great Britain is the runner-up; the number of British visitors increased by eleven percent to nearly 1.9 million. Belgium comes third with over 1.8 million tourists (+10%).
China, Russia and North america
China showed the biggest increase, percentage-wise. The number of Chinese visitors increased by eighteen percent to more than 250,000 arrivals. In addition, nearly one million (+6%) Americans came to our country, partly thanks to the improving economy and the cheaper euro. The number of visitors from Russia decreased by six percent, mainly as a result of the political tensions and the drop in the value of the rouble.
Some 80% of the total number of international visitors come from Europe, and in 2014 arrivals from Europe increased substantially, in particular from Belgium, Great Britain and Germany. The exceptional growth from these neighbouring countries is mainly due to the increase in the number of short holidays, which Holland greatly benefited from, being a nearby destination. Holland also benefited from additional transport connections. Moreover, the fine weather and the favourable holiday spread in Germany and Belgium contributed to additional holidays in our country. This growth was country-wide, however, the Dutch cities and the coastal areas benefited most. In addition, our improved tourism image in Belgium was to our advantage. The favourable currency exchange rates had a positive impact in Great Britain, as it is relatively inexpensive for many Brits to travel to Holland. The predominantly booking-oriented marketing activities that NBTC executed, together with its partners, also drove growth.
NBTC expects a four-percent increase in the number of international tourists to our country in 2015, nearly 14.5 million. The growth from the neighbouring countries will continue, albeit less so than the previous year. Further growth is also expected from Asia. Tourism from China, for instance, may increase by some eighteen percent, depending on the intended introduction of biometric data for Schengen visa. In case this introduction is effected this year, NBTC expects a significant negative impact on the number of Asian tourists, particularly from China.
Importance of sustainable growth
Jos Vranken, Managing Director NBTC: "It goes without saying that we are happy with another record year. Inbound tourism is a growth market, and one of the few industries that were able to show volume growth, even in recent years. The tourism industry contributes considerably to the Dutch economy, in terms of spend, jobs and facilities. Having said this, we do have concerns about the future. Effective 2015, the national government will invest an astonishing 50 percent less in the branding and marketing of the destination 'Holland', even though our country faces fierce and increasing competition. On the one hand, we need to retain the current visitor numbers and their spend and take advantage of the growth perspective, in the interest of prosperity and well-being. On the other hand, there is an increasing urgency to channel the growth through further seasonal and regional spread of visitors."