Economic worries holding back development domestic tourism
Domestic tourism continued to struggle during 2013 as Dutch people remained pessimistic about their personal financial short term outlook. This negative attitude meant that consumers were not very eager to book domestic trips as many preferred to book shorter, less expensive trips and some decided to not to book a holiday at all. Consumers were looking to cut the cost of their total annual travel budget and in many cases this meant that they denied themselves the luxury of taking several short domestic trips throughout the year, limiting themselves to one longer summer holiday instead.
Special events and the reopening of major museums boosts inbound tourism
The number of inbound arrivals in the Netherlands registered positive growth in 2013. Although many of the major source countries for inbound tourism to the Netherlands still face some economic challenges, more inbound tourists decided to visit the Netherlands. There are many reasons for this, although the most prominent of these were demand for special events and the reopening of some of major museums, including the Rijksmuseum. One of the events which drew tourists to the Netherlands in 2013 was the 400 year anniversary of the Amsterdam canals. Another major reason for the increase in inbound tourism was the publicity surrounding the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the coronation of King Willem-Alexander.
Hotels on the verge of a major recovery
During 2013, hotels in the Netherlands showed the first real signs of a major recovery. During the first two quarters of 2013, hotels still faced negative growth as both domestic and inbound tourists were hesitant to book hotel rooms and remained interested mostly in special deals. In addition, the negative consumer sentiment among domestic travellers meant that hotels continued to struggle during the first six months of the year. However, during the second half of 2013 there were positive signs as the number of hotel bookings increased, although this was largely due to higher demand among inbound tourists rather than domestic tourists.
Travel retail products remain the most popular online offerings
Travel retail products and services remain among the most popular items in internet retailing in the Netherlands in terms of total spend. The reason for this is obviously that the average spend per transaction is relatively high for most travel retail products as consumers purchasing travel accommodation, package holidays or air tickets tend to spend at least several hundred euro, which is clearly more than they would pay for a book or an item of clothing, for instance. However, this is not the only reason for the high online spend. Internet retailing lends itself very well to travel retail as it allows consumers to shop around for the best deals relatively easily and also is able to offer consumers substantial information about their potential purchases.
Slow recovery from recession is most likely to emerge in travel and tourism
Steady growth is expected in inbound arrivals in the Netherlands over the forecast period. Steady growth in the number of tourists arriving from the so-called BRIC countries is set to be a major factor in this. China, in particular, is expected to perform very well as affluent Chinese tourists are often very interested in visiting the Netherlands. Domestic tourism is set to recover more slowly as during 2014, in particular, Dutch consumers are expected to still have negative feelings about their personal financial situations. Towards the end of the forecast period, however, consumer confidence is expected to improve and this is set to assist the recovery of demand for domestic travel and tourism.
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