Number of overnight guests 17 percent down in Q1

© Hollandse Hoogte
In Q1 2020, the number of guests staying in Dutch overnight accommodations declined by 17 percent relative to the same period last year. Hotels and similar accommodations in particular received fewer guests. The decline was mainly seen among foreign guests; relative to one year previously, as much as 66 percent fewer foreign visitors stayed at a Dutch accommodation in March. This is shown by new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).


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Whereas in Q1 2019, there were still 8.3 million guests staying in Dutch overnight accommodations, this number had dropped by 17 percent to 6.9 million in the same quarter of 2020. These guests spent a combined 15.8 million nights in the Netherlands, against 18.2 million one year previously.

Guests at Dutch overnight accommodations, Q1
JaartalDutch guests (x million)Foreign guests (x million)
20164.043.03
20174.363.17
20184.603.53
20194.633.68
2020*4.082.82
*Provisional figures

The decline in the number of guests during Q1 2020 mainly occurred in the month of March. In January and February, the number of guests still rose by 7 and 11 percent respectively relative to the same months in 2019, while in March the number of guests and overnights stays declined by 57 and 52 percent respectively. The decline among foreign guests amounted to no less than 66 percent. The number of business guests decreased as well, by 57 percent.

This decline is largely attributable to the impact of the spread of coronavirus. A small contributing factor may be that in 2020 carnival and therefore also the spring break in some regions fell in February instead of March.

Guests at Dutch overnight accommodations, March
JaartalDutch guests (x million)Foreign guests (x million)
20161.481.22
20171.621.23
20181.731.40
20191.821.47
2020*0.920.51
*Provisional figures

Decline largest among hotels

During Q1 2020, hotels and similar accommodations in particular recorded fewer guest arrivals. The number of guests fell by 19 percent while foreign guests declined by as much as 26 percent, relative to the same period last year.

At 11 percent, the decline was less substantial at recreational accommodations (campsites, holiday parks and group accommodations) compared to hotels, which showed the sharpest drop at 12 percent relative to Q1 2019.

The fact that the spread of coronavirus had a significant impact on the hotels during Q1 and particularly in March is also evident from the latest figures on turnover development. Hotels realised 16.9 percent lower turnover in Q1 2020 relative to the previous quarter.

Guests at Dutch overnight accommodations, Q1*
CategorieForeign gusts (year-on-year % change)Dutch guests (year-on-year % change)
Hotels/guesthouses/
youth accommodations
-25.72-12.12
Recreational accommodations-7.84-11.74
*Provisional figures

Number of foreign guests down by two-thirds

Restrictions on international travel due to the COVID-19 measures have affected both intercontinental and European guest arrivals, mainly at the hotels. This is underscored by the sharp drop in the number of air passengers arriving in the Netherlands.

As a result, in March the number of foreign hotel guests fell by nearly 66 percent year-on-year. This was even over 80 percent for Chinese and Italian overnight guests. The decline in the number of Chinese guests already started in February with a 44-percent drop over this month relative to February 2019.

Mainly fewer guests in Noord-Holland

A large part of the total bed place capacity in hotels (42 percent) is located in the province of Noord-Holland and Amsterdam in particular. In Q1 2020, the total number of hotel guests in Noord-Holland fell by one-quarter and in March even by 63 percent year-on-year. Noord-Holland saw the sharpest decline in hotel guests after Flevoland. At 2 percent, the province of Utrecht showed the lowest decline.

In Amsterdam, the number of guests fell by 27 percent in Q1 and by 65 percent in March. This is because, in normal times, Noord-Holland and Amsterdam in particular attract more foreign guests than the other provinces. The number of overnight guests in Amsterdam was already down in January and February, by 4 and 5 percent respectively.

Guests at Dutch overnight accommodations, Q1*
ProvincieYear-on-year change (year-on-year % change)
Flevoland-23.53
Noord-Holland-23.15
Zuid-Holland-15.91
Limburg-15.66
Drenthe-14.93
Zeeland-13.31
Noord-Brabant-13.09
Gelderland-12.72
Groningen-11.89
Friesland-10.27
Overijssel-6.71
Utrecht-2.23
*Provisional figures