Tourist spending up sharply

15/07/2008 15:00

Dutch and foreign tourists spent a total 35.3 billion euro in the Netherlands in 2007. This is 5.5 percent more than in 2006. After correction for inflation, tourist spending was 3.4 percent higher.

Tourist spending in the Netherlands and GDP, volume changes

Tourist spending in the Netherlands and GDP, volume changes

Tourism is a luxury item

Spending on tourism is very sensitive to developments in the economy. At the beginning of the present century, economic growth fell to nearly 0 percent. The volume of tourist spending stopped growing in this period; in fact the opposite happened: tourist spending decreased for two years in a row. When the economy bounced back in 2004, spending on tourism started to rise steadily again. The increase in the volume of tourist expenditure kept pace with the -substantial - economic growth and the increase in consumer confidence in these years.

Stable contribution to Dutch economy

Last year, foreign tourists and business visitors from abroad spent 6.8 billion euro in the Netherlands, while Dutch tourists spent 28.5 billion euro. Spending by foreign visitors grew by relatively more than spending by Dutch tourists. At 3 percent, the tourism sector accounted for the same share of total gross domestic product (GDP) as in 2006.

Domestic tourist consumption by industry class, 2007

Domestic tourist consumption by industry class, 2007

Most spent in hotels and restaurants

Just as in 2006, tourists spent 38 percent of their total expenditure in hotels, cafes and restaurants. They spent nearly one fifth on transport, and 15 percent on museums, football stadiums, amusement parks etc. The remaining 28 percent was spent on other goods and services such as caravans, camping equipment and sports items, but also in retail outlets.

Employment in tourism sector

Employment in tourism sector

Employment recovering

The number of jobs in the Dutch tourism sector rose by 2.5 percent in 2007. In 2006 the increase was 2.0 percent. The number of part-time jobs in particular has risen in recent years. With an increase of 2.3 percent, the labour volume exceeded its 2001 level again for the first time. In 2007 4.1 percent of the employed labour force (employees and self-employed) worked in the tourism sector.

Rob van der Holst, Eefje Lammers and Albert Pieters