Growth tourism sector primarily due to foreign tourists

In 2017, the value of tourism expenditure in the Dutch economy amounted to 82.1 billion euros, representing a 6.9 percent year-on-year increase. Three-quarters of this growth was due to foreign tourist spending in the Netherlands. This is the outcome of CBS research commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.


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In 2017, foreign tourist expenditure grew by 12.6 percent to a total of 29.9 billion euros. This growth was partly due to an increase in the number of overnight stays, namely by 11.5 percent to over 44 million. In addition, a higher number of foreign tourists booked accommodation and/or (flight) tickets at or via Dutch companies. Although a large number of these tourists did not actually travel to the Netherlands, Dutch companies did benefit financially from these bookings. 

With a 3.6 percent increase , domestic tourist expenditure reached 43 billion euros in 2017. Dutch tourists primarily spent more on food and beverages in hotels and restaurants during their holidays and getaways. Abroad, Dutch tourists spent 6.2 billion euros on accommodations and (flight) tickets at or via Dutch companies. This represents an increase of 6.4 percent relative to 2016.

Tourism expenditure
Toeristische bestedingen, waarden in lopende prijzenForeign tourism ( bn euros)Domestic tourism with destination in own country ( bn euros)Foreign tourist expenditure at Dutch companies ( bn euros)Other ( bn euros)

Growing importance of tourism to the economy

In 2017, the value added in the tourism sector amounted to 28.3 billion euros. This is 6.8 percent up on the preceding year and 4.9 percent when adjusted for price changes. The sector hotels and restaurants contributed the highest share with over 11 billion euros in value added in the tourism sector last year. Due to the increase in value added, the share of tourism in the Dutch economy increased by 0.1 percentage point against 2016 and came to 4.3 percent.

Value added of tourism by industry, 2017
SectorValue added
Hotels and restaurants38.9
Aviation, tour operators and travel agencies22.4
Sports, recreation and gambling industry9.3
Arts, culture and hobby clubs5.8

Tourism boosts employment

In the tourism sector, the number of jobs rose by 3.8 percent in 2017, reaching a total of 761 thousand jobs. The number of jobs in the Dutch economy rose by 2.1 percent, boosting the share of the tourism sector in the total number of jobs to 7.5 percent.

Employment in the tourism sector
Werkgelegenheid in de toeristische sectorJobs (x 1,000)Full-time jobs (x 1,000)

A large number of jobs in the tourism sector are part-time. When converted to full-time, the sector accounted for 455 thousand jobs in 2017, up 4.6 percent on 2016. Nearly 75 percent of these full-time jobs were in typical tourism industries such as hotels and restaurants, aviation, travel agencies, arts and culture, sports, leisure and gambling. The remaining jobs were in non-typical industries such as retail trade, public transportation and the taxi industry.

Full-time jobs in the tourism sector, by industry, 2017
Hotels and restaurants48.2
Sports, recreation and gambling industry9.3
Arts, culture and hobby clubs7.6
Aviation, tour operators and travel agencies7

Revision of tourism accounts

The tourism accounts were revised in 2018. The findings from this revision have been incorporated in the figures that are shown in this news release. The revised series of 2010-2017 can be found on StatLine.