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Budget cuts hurt promotion of Amsterdam

May 9th, 2011 | Last updated: May 18th, 2011

DutchAmsterdam.nl — The Dutch tourism industry is alarmed at budget cuts of € 10 million for the promotion of the Netherlands abroad.

Last Friday the Dutch cabinet announced that starting in 2015 the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) will receive € 5.8 million in yearly subsidies from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Currently the organization received € 16,6 million, about as much as the tourist sector itself contributes to the promotion of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam Tourist Information
Amsterdam Tourist Office — on a rare, quiet day
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The budget cuts are part of a larger program of cuts covering all aspects of Dutch society in an effort to combat lingering effects of the recent economic crisis.

Big Impact on Tourism in Amsterdam

More than half of the hotel nights booked by foreigners are spent in Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam Tourism and Convention Board (ATCB) predicts the cuts will cost Amsterdam 750.000 hotel nights and € 300 million in turnover.

The NBTC says that across the Netherlands the cuts will lead to two million fewer tourists and € 800 million in missed income.

Local daily Het Parool writes that tourism and congresses are good for some 5.000 jobs in the city. Amsterdam is visited by 5.3 million tourist a year. Together they spend € 5.5 billion.

The municipality of Amsterdam spends a moderate amount on promotion abroad, and mostly relies on the work of the NBTC.

ATCB director Stefan Diender says every Euro spent in marketing the Netherlands and Amsterdam results in € 44 in turnover.

However, the city of Amsterdam has to enforce budget cuts as well. This year the ATB receives € 450.000 less in subsidies.

Political Debate

MP Kees Verhoeven (D66), supported by the CDA, has requested a debate in the House of Representatives on the budget cuts.

Verhoeven says the Amsterdam region is the “engine of the hospitality and tourism industry” to which Amsterdam and Schiphol together “contibute one-third to one-half.”

The MP emphasizes that it’s about more than just tourism. It’s also about business travelers and conferences, he points out.

“When there is a congress of doctors or lawyers at the RAI, almost all branches of business in the city benefit.”

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