Two-thirds of summer holidays booked online

In the summer period of 2017, three out of four Dutch people (12.7 million) went on holiday one or more times. Nearly nine in ten holidays were spent in Europe, with Germany being the favourite destination. The vast majority of summer holidays were booked online. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on the 2017 holiday survey.

During last year’s summer period, which started on 29 April and ended on 30 September, 12.7 million Dutch people went on holiday almost 23 million times. Close to 13 million of these holidays were spent abroad, the other 10 million in the Netherlands. The average length of a summer holiday was 8 days. The total amount spent on holidays in the summer of 2017 was 12.4 billion euros, slightly less than a thousand euros per holidaymaker.

Most holidays booked via the internet

Two out of three Dutch holidaymakers had booked their summer holiday accommodation already before their trip. This was especially the case for holidays abroad; 73 percent had booked their stay before the start of their holidays, versus 56 percent of those staying within the country.

A stay abroad was generally booked via a travel agency (41 percent) while more than half of accommodations (55 percent) for domestic holidays were reserved directly with the lessor. Two-thirds of last year’s summer holiday bookings were made online; more than one in ten holidays were booked personally via a travel agency or tour operator.

Method of booking, summer holidays 2017
 Type of booking
Email, SMS, WhatsApp9.6
Other or unknown4.9

Accommodation for 1 out of 5 summer holidays not booked in advance

Of all summer holidays in 2017, 19 percent of the stays were booked only after departure from home; in 8 percent of the cases one day to a week before departure. Over 20 percent had booked their holiday stay three to six months before departure while 7 percent had organised this even sooner. For nearly 14 percent of summer holidays, no lodging arrangements were made at all. This mainly concerns holidays where people stay in their own accommodation (a summer house, for example) or have a permanent camping pitch for their caravan or tent.

Favourite destinations

Nearly 90 percent of all foreign summer holidays were spent at a European destination. Western and Southern Europe were most popular, with holiday shares of 44 and 31 percent respectively. Holidays outside of Europe were mainly spent in Asia and North America. In 2017, the most popular foreign destination was Germany with over 2.1 million of holidays spent. France (2 million) and Spain (1.5 million) came in second and third, respectively. Germany is especially popular among Dutch people for short holidays (with a maximum of three overnight stays); for long summer holidays with four overnight stays or more, France takes first place.

Foreign summer destinations visited by Dutch holidaymakers, 2017
 Number of holidays ( thousand)
Verenigd Koninkrijk597

9 in 10 domestic holidays by car

In 2017, again, travelling by car was the most preferred way to get to our summer destination. This type of transport was used for almost 90 percent of domestic holidays. Cars were also most frequently chosen for summer holidays abroad (48 percent), followed by airplanes (43 percent).

Active holidays more often within country borders

In 2017, the Dutch spent active holidays more frequently in their own country (25 percent) than abroad (15 percent). Foreign holidays, however, were spent more often on the beach than in the Netherlands: 23 versus 9 percent. City trips, too, are predominantly a foreign affair (15 percent abroad and 7 percent in the Netherlands).

Type of summer holiday, 2017
 Recreational holiday in own accommodation (%)Active holiday (%)Beach holiday (%)City trip (%)Nature holiday (%)Cultural holiday (%)Pleasure holiday (%)Tour (%)Family visit (%)Other or unknown (%)

Cycling holidays are most popular when it comes to active summer holidays at home: 42 percent of all active holidays against 14 percent of active holidays abroad. As for holidays abroad, however, hiking trips are in demand (53 percent, versus 31 percent in the Netherlands).