What revenue does cultural tourism generate for Amsterdam?

What revenue does cultural tourism generate for Amsterdam?

Amsterdam recently scored ninth place in a ranking of the most attractive cultural tourist destinations. With 8.7 points, the city scored just below London (8th) and above Lisbon (10th) in a recent survey carried out by Zoover, a Dutch package holiday organisation. The research involved 1,000 participants. 

On average 24 percent of all European tourists indicated that access to cultural events was more important to them than weather conditions, when they are on a short trip abroad, the same research revealed.  

How much tourists spend on average on cultural attractions is anybody’s guess. Information from the Amsterdam authorities and private companies shows widely diverging numbers. According to the CBS, the Statistical Office in the Netherlands, tourists spend just under 2 billion euros every year in Amsterdam. 

'Wrong!' say the municipal authorities in Amsterdam citing the Amsterdam Economics Board, who believe turnover generated by tourists is well over 10,3 billion euros, generating 88,000 jobs. 'Wrong again!' says Mastercard, which asserts that tourism to Amsterdam is good for an annual income of 3.5 billion euros. 

Even more different scenarios emerged when we tried to identify which part of these revenue streams is allocated to the cultural sector. iAmsterdam reports that tourists spend around 60 euros daily consuming culture, food and drink. If only we could get it backed up with another research report, I’d be inclined to believe that’s a logical ballpark figure.

Yet the Amsterdam Economic Board (AEB) calculates that tourism inclusive of business travelers generates as much as 1,000 euros per night. But that figure also covers Schiphol turnover, income travel organisations derive from tourists to Amsterdam, airline inflows; all factors that merely offer questionable context, no real specifics about what visitors spend on Amsterdam’s cultural events like the movies, concerts, art museums, clubbing and entertainment. 

The Netherland’s Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), which is credited with devising the successful campaign brushing up Amsterdam’s status as a high brow cultural city, professes to not only target art lovers as well as the traditional tulip and windmill tourists the Netherlands unerringly attracts, but also has it in for the “cool” Millennial traveler, if we may believe TravelPulse’s recent report.

“Art was a big part of the reason that 2013 was so successful. The year featured the re-opening of the renovated Rijksmuseum and many events surrounding the 400th anniversary of the Canal Ring,” the site reports.This month’s re-opening of the Van Gogh museum should also be seen against this background.

“One of the most attractive features of Amsterdam, aside from museums, the historic city centre and other sights, is the balance between inhabitants, visitors and businesses,” reports AEB. AEB does specify that of the 10.3 billion euros in income from foreign visitors, around 2 billion euros is created by tourists and day trippers from the Netherlands, generating 25,000 jobs and that the number of these tourists grows annually by 3 percent. 

To leave you with some sense of closure, I will cite Zoover’s top ten most highly rated cities for cultural diversions. Sorry, can’t do any better!

1 Rome
2 Prague
3 Istanbul
4 Bruges
5 Barcelona
6 Parijs
7 Berlijn
8 London
9 Amsterdam
10 Lisbon