Tourism in the Netherlands decimated, numbers as low as they were in the 90’s

Before 2020 started, the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism and Conventions (NBTC) expected more than 21 million tourists to arrive in the Netherlands this year. As it turns out, a third of that amount are now expected. 

This number would have been record-breaking but instead this year has seen the country’s tourism numbers drop significantly. It is expected that instead of 21 million, 7 million people will visit the Netherlands this year.

High hopes for 2020

The year 2020 was meant to be an exceptional year for the Dutch tourism board. This was due to a number of major international events taking place in the Netherlands such as the Eurovision song contest in Rotterdam, the Formula 1 race in Zandvoort and part of the European football championship in Amsterdam.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, large events such as these were cancelled and travel in and out of the Netherlands was restricted for a significant part of the year. As the year continues, any hope of normalcy returning has been taken away again as the Netherlands enters into a second wave of the virus.

Tourism figures as low as they were in the 1990’s

Instead, this year has seen tourism figures similar to those of the 90’s, NBTC director Jos Vranken has told the NOS. He has said that he does not expect the tourism industry to recover until 2024.

The reason for this, he explains, lies not only in the fact that less internationals are holidaying in the Netherlands, but also less Dutch people. More than a third of Dutch people chose not to holiday in the Netherlands this year.

On top of this, the NBTC has said that more than half the people surveyed claimed they would be less likely to go on holiday next year too.

More support for the tourism industry

For this reason, Vranken has said that the tourism industry needs support from the government. “We notice that most people want to book holidays with flexible cancellation options. This has an enormous impact for tourism entrepreneurs. The importance of support measures and targeted investments in sustainable recovery of the tourism sector is therefore great.”

Has corona affected your holiday plans? Let us know in the comments below! 

Feature Image: djedj/Pixabay

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


  1. We had three trips booked this year – Jordan in March, Eurodisney in June and Schwarzwald in October – all cancelled due to Covid and border closures, though we were lucky enough to lose only nominal costs. This was also a critical summer – the one before my daughter would start school and before my son would turn two (under 2’s fly free). We did manage one week in August in a Roompot camping in Brabant – I’m surprised that less Dutch are holidaying in NL as I’m sure there must have been many more in our situation.

  2. It will be a good day for Amsterdam and other attractions if the deluge of tourism slowed down to a sustainable stream. It got to the point where Amsterdam would have more AirBnB hosts than hotel rooms and most of those hosts would have those houses as second homes, rakig in cash and driving up house prices to the points it became unaffordable for native Amsterdammers to buy a house. I am very glad the reality check came.


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