Foreign tourist numbers to the Netherlands topped 20 million last year

Last year 20 million foreign tourists came to the Netherlands and stayed at least one night, according to new figures from national tourist board NBTC.

The 7% rise on 2018 is in line with NBTC forecasts, according to director Jos Vranken. Some 80% of the visitors came from Europe, particularly from Germany, Belgium and Britain.

The role of the NBTC is changing, Vranken said in a website statement. ‘We are working towards a more sustainable approach to Destination The Netherlands,’ he said. ‘Alongside marketing towards the sort of guests we want to see, we are strengthening our role in terms of insight, strategy and the positioning of the Netherlands.’

Last year a government think-tank said the government must invest in ensuring the Netherlands remains a pleasant place to live as tourism continues to grow.

The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure said ministers must immediately pump money into dealing with the negative impact of tourism because the country is now at a ‘crossroads’.

While tourism generates twice as much money as agriculture for the treasury, just a handful of civil servants are busy with policy, the council pointed out.

In particular, Amsterdam is struggling to deal with the tourist influx, although around half of the city’s visitors are day trippers from elsewhere in the country.

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