By Jeroen van Wilgen of Tourism Consultancy on October 25th, 2018

Dutch travellers seek charm in ‘small’ and ‘carbon-neutral’ destinations

Frequently, the Netherlands is referred to as ‘the small market among the big ones’ when talking about the most important source markets for popular tourism destinations around the world. Being small in surface, but relatively big in population, Dutch travellers adhere to a set of remarkable trends in 2018 – 2019.

Dutch travellers generally see the world as their domain. There is an important trend developing in the Netherlands, that holiday destinations can use to their benefit when defining their communication strategy: The Dutch tourist of the near future is particularly charmed by 'small’ places that have not yet been discovered by mass tourism, in combination with small-scale accommodations and adventurous activities with a zero-carbon footprint. That sounds like quite a checklist, but the needs are relatively simple and easy to combine.

For the Dutch, the feeling of joining the local population is appealing. Traveling local does not simply mean with a local. Visiting places where locals come is precisely what the Dutch visitor seeks. So, move away from your landmark buildings, natural wonders and tourist hotspots, the Dutch will find these anyway. In your communication, focus on those places that are not top-of-mind. It is striking that us Dutch often choose adventure with the whole family in a secluded, ‘secret’ spot or even go fly-camping (in contrary to glamping).

And as with all travel, the trip starts in the home country itself. Choosing the departure airport is also subject to the ‘small is good’ trend. Due to the continuing pressure at our national airport, we are increasingly exchanging Amsterdam Schiphol for regional airports such as Eindhoven and the German airports of Düsseldorf and Münster, depending on the final destination being inside or outside of Europe. Too often, destinations still see Amsterdam as the only hub for airlift, whereas the catchment area for the Netherlands easily exceeds its borders.

Now, get your hands up for these travel  trends to be on the lookout for!

Friends Adventure


Four important Dutch Holiday Trends this year and next year:

1. Bucket lists – These lists of ‘must do’s’ will continue to grow in popularity. Dutch travellers like to ‘mark off’ their most loved places to visit. Make sure you are on them, with secret tips besides your landmark attractions.

2. ‘Back to then’- Our current year is also dominated by the past. People want to re-experience their most beautiful childhood memories and go back to destinations that have always remained in the heart. A third of all travelers were considering going back to a place where they went as a child in 2018, to see the destination from a new perspective. And the important ‘millennial target group’ is the most sentimental. For example, 44% of 18 to 34 year olds would like to return to a favorite family destination from their childhood.

3. With family and friends -  The Dutch are increasingly traveling with family or groups of friends. When asked which travel companions they prefer to travel with in 2018, 25% answered 'with a group of friends'. It is no longer just about the destination, but also about the people with whom we create beautiful memories. A holiday with friends is the ultimate chance to spend more time with them! A holiday with friends also has financial advantages: four out of ten participants (40%) indicate that during a holiday with friends, they can stay in an accommodation that they would not have been able to afford on their own.

4. Travel carbon neutral - Care for the environment and the impact of travel on nature is becoming more and more key. Whereas ‘green travel’ used to be only important for a niche, in recent years and especially in 2018, carbon neutral travel has become key. When looking at a long-haul destination, consumers are constantly reminded of the pollution that air traffic causes and like to compensate this. National opinion poller, Maurice de Hond, revealed on October 2nd, 2018 that the majority of Dutch people want the revenues from the flight tax to be used to finance initiatives to make aviation cleaner. The government wants to raise 200 million € with the ticket tax from 2021 onwards. The proceeds currently disappear completely into the treasury.

Note that these trends did not just come up all of a sudden. If you haven’t acted on them, now is the time when preparing your communication strategy for 2019.


The views and opinions expressed in this  blog  are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency member of Travel Consul

By Jeroen van Wilgen of Tourism Consultancy on October 25th, 2018