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Netherlands is expecting a 5 percent tourism increase in 2013



New York News: The Dutch Bureau of Tourism is expecting a 5 percent increase in 2013
According to new figures from the Dutch Bureau of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), over 11,7 million tourists visited the Netherlands in 2012, an increase of 4% over the previous year as well as a new record high. These tourists spent 4,75 billion euros, another record high.

As in previous years, the majority of these tourists came from Germany, the United Kingdom and Belgium. The highest growth in tourist numbers, however, came from Asian countries: 23% more Japanese and Chinese tourists and 16% more Indian tourists visited the Netherlands last year than in 2011. Meanwhile, the number of tourists from countries with struggling economies, like Italy and Spain, decreased last year.

The growth in tourist numbers can be attributed to a few key factors, including the increased popularity of city travel within Europe, a small increase in the number of flight connections, and the rise of the middle class in Asia. Moreover, the weaker euro made Europe and the Netherlands more attractive as travel destinations.
Netherlands is not a particularly large country and ranks 133rd and 61st worldwide. In stark contrast, the country’s economic performance ranks much higher. The size of the economy, or the Gross Domestic Product, was more than € 588 billion in 2010. The Netherlands has the sixteenth largest economy in the world and the sixth largest in the European Union.

Compared to many other EU Member States, the Netherlands has a highly open economy, which is why the country was hit hard by the sharp downturn in world trade in 2008 and 2009. Nevertheless, the economic downturn in the Netherlands was no greater than the fall in GDP for the entire Eurozone. When considered over a longer period of time, however, the Netherlands shows excellent economic growth compared to other prosperous EU Member States and the US. This is an exceptionally good performance for a highly developed economy with a high standard of living (see also GDP per capita). The structural reforms that have been implemented in, for instance, the labour market and the social security system, have created conditions for potentially healthy economic growth that offers room for investments in knowledge and innovation, for example, so that the Netherlands will remain a prosperous, sustainable, and also enterprising nation.

For the full cabinet period (2011-2015), average GDP growth is expected to be 1 percent, while 1.25 percent was accounted at the start of the Rutte government in late 2010. The difference is mainly caused by the economic recession of late 2011 and early 2012.In 2012, the inflation rate will be 2.25 percent.

CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) expects that the Dutch budget deficit will be 4.5 percent, or 28 billion euros, in 2013. From that year onwards, the Dutch economy is expected to recover slowly, with a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.25 percent in 2013.

The Netherlands has traditionally had an open economy and the level of trade with other countries is very significant. According to research carried out by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, the Netherlands earns about 33% of its income from the export of goods and services. In 2011, the value of exports was 84.2% of the Netherlands’ GDP.

As the fifth largest exporter of goods in the world, the Netherlands occupies a prominent position when it comes to world trade. In 2010, the Netherlands exported goods worth a total of more than 574 billion US dollars. The Netherlands is also a significant exporter of commercial services – exports of commercial services amounted to 111.3 billion US dollars (81.9 billion Euro, CBS, 2012) in 2010, which placed the country ninth in the world rankings.

As well as being a major exporter, the Netherlands also imports large quantities of goods: almost 518 billion US dollars worth in 2010. With a 3.4% share of the global total, the country is the seventh largest importer of goods in the world. The Netherlands is also a significant importer of commercial services – imports of commercial services amounted to 109 billion US dollars in 2010, which placed the Netherlands eighth in the world rankings.

The rate of unemployment in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in Europe. From 2006 to 2010, an average of 3.4% of the potential working population was unemployed, while the corresponding rate in the euro countries was 8.5%. The economic crisis has led to an increase in unemployment in the Netherlands to 4.8% in October 2011 (Eurostat, 2011), but this is still far below the average of neighbouring countries. Youth unemployment is very low in the Netherlands. In October 2011, 8.2% of Holland’s potential working population under-25 was jobless, compared to the average of 22.0% in the EU-27.

The total amount of Dutch investments in other countries is considerable. In late 2010, investments overseas totalled in excess of 890 billion US dollars, making the country the seventh largest foreign investor in the world.

According to the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, the country has provided a home for around 8,000 foreign companies, including the likes of BASF, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Nike, Sabic, Siemens and Yakult. Foreign companies have made direct investments worth 590 billion US dollars. As a result, the Netherlands is the world’s eighth-largest recipient of foreign investment, with foreign investors providing 15% of the total number of jobs in the Dutch economy is the fifth-largest economy in the euro-zone and is noted for its stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable trade surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports.

The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. After 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Dutch economy – highly dependent on an international financial sector and international trade – contracted by 3.5% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. The Dutch financial sector suffered, due in part to the high exposure of some Dutch banks to U.S. mortgage-backed securities. In 2008, the government nationalized two banks and injected billions of dollars of capital into other financial institutions, to prevent further deterioration of a crucial sector.

The government also sought to boost the domestic economy by accelerating infrastructure programs, offering corporate tax breaks for employers to retain workers, and expanding export credit facilities. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, resulted in a government budget deficit of 5.3% of GDP in 2010 that contrasted sharply with a surplus of 0.7% in 2008.

The government of Prime Minister Mark RUTTE began implementing fiscal consolidation measures in early 2011, mainly reductions in expenditures, which resulted in an improved budget deficit of 3.8% of GDP. In 2012 tax revenues dropped nearly 9%, and GDP contracted. Although jobless claims continued to grow, the unemployment rate remained relatively low at 6.8 percent.