Tourism sensitive to economy and prices

A revised version of this article has been published on 11 July 2007.

The Dutch population spent more than 26 billion euro on tourism in the Netherlands in 2006. This is 4.2 percent more than in 2005. After correction for price changes, this put tourist expenditure almost back at the level of 2001.

Economy has a strong effect

Spending on tourist goods and services is very sensitive to the economy. The economic recession in the first years of the millennium went hand in hand with a decrease in tourist consumption after 2001. After 2004 it picked up again slightly, but only in 2006 was there a strong recovery. This recovery is taking place simultaneously with the strong growth of the economy and the increase in consumer confidence.

Domestic tourist consumption and GDP

Domestic tourist consumption and GDP

Prices also play a part

Prices, too, affect the consumption behaviour of Dutch tourists. The hefty price increases of tourist goods and services in 2002 (4.5 percent on average) contributed to the decrease. The most substantial increases were in the hotel and restaurant sector where prices rose by 6.9 percent. In the period 2003–2006 price increases in the tourism sector were at about the same level as inflation.

Most spending in hotels and restaurants

Accounting for 38 percent, the hotel and restaurant sector accounted for the lion’s share of Dutch tourist spending, followed by spending on durable goods such as caravans, and camping and sports equipment (28 percent). Nineteen percent was spent on transport companies, and 15 percent on venues such as museums, football stadiums and amusement parks.

Domestic tourist consumption by sector of industry, 2006*

Domestic tourist consumption by sector of industry, 2006*

Higher share of GDP

Foreign tourist and business visitors spent more than 6 billion euro on tourism in the Netherlands. Together, Dutch and foreign tourists spent a total of more than 32 billion euro on tourist services and goods. The contribution of tourism to the total gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 3.2 percent, the same as in 2001.

More part-time jobs in particular

In 2005 the number of jobs in the tourism sector rose slightly for the first time since 2001. The number of part-time jobs in particular increased. The labour volume decreased. 
In 2005 4.1 percent of all people in worked in tourism. This percentage has been stable for years now.

Tourism employment

Tourism employment

Rob van der Holst, Eefje Lammers and Albert Pieters