Almost 15 million tourists in 2015

January 21, 2016

7% more visitors, 8% more overnight stays

NBTC Holland Marketing estimates that 14.9 million international tourists visited Holland in 2015. This is a 7% increase compared with 2014. Most of the visitors came from Germany, while China showed the largest growth in terms of percentage, i.e. 21%. NBTC expects an increase in numbers of visitors of approximately 3% in 2016. The total number of international visitors in 2016 is forecast to be as high as 15.3 million.


The almost fifteen million foreign visitors in 2015 spent some 37.2 million nights in Holland (+8%). Most international tourists came from Germany, as in previous years. In 2015 the number of German visitors exceeded the four million mark for the first time; over 4.2 million Germans visited our country last year (+10%). Belgium ranks second with its almost two million visitors (+8%) and overtook Great Britain. Great Britain ranks third with well over 1.9 million visitors (+5%).


Some 80 percent of the international visitors come from Europe. In 2015 visitor numbers from Europe increased substantially, especially from Belgium and Germany. A major reason for the exceptional growth from Germany is that Holland benefits above-averagely from the increase in the number of short breaks. Belgium has been a growth market for years and we profit from an enhanced tourism image in this country. Various marketing initiatives, such as the ‘Van Gogh 2015’ theme year, resulted in an extra boost. 


China showed the biggest growth in terms of percentage. The number of Chinese visitors increased by 21% to approximately 300,000. For the first time since 2006 more than one million Americans (+3%) visited our country. This is the result of the recovering economy and the cheaper euro. The number of visitors from Russia decreased by 24%, mainly because of geopolitical tensions and the decrease in value of the rouble. The number of Japanese visitors fell off by 15%, to circa 125,000. The Japanese are predominantly a risk-avoiding people and because of the attacks and terrorist threats they postpone their trip to Europe.  


NBTC expects an increase of some 3% in the number of international tourists who visit our country in 2016. Some 15.3 million leisure and business travellers are expected to visit our country this year. The increase from the neighbouring countries and America will continue, albeit not as strong as in 2015. Modest growth is also expected from Asia, with tourism from China going up some 5%. Because of the introduction of biometrical data for Schengen visa and the more moderate growth of the Chinese economy the growth will be slightly less than in the past few years.  


Jos Vranken, Managing Director NBTC: “In the interest of our economy, NBTC is very happy with another strong year, both visitor-wise and spend-wise. Holland has been regaining market share compared with our Northwest-European competition. In spite of the current volatility and uncertainties, inbound tourism is a growth market. Our strategy for the coming years is to drive growth in conjunction with our partners, in order to encourage, among other things, seasonal and regional spread, which will contribute to the strengthening of the regional economies.”