NBTC Holland Marketing, in collaboration with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Jet Airways, organised the Holland Sales Mission 2018. This three-day event was held from August 28 to 30, 2018, in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. The Mission aimed to educate the travel trade about the tourism offerings in the Netherlands, also allowing them to explore the many opportunities that lie within.
The B2B sessions allowed delegates to learn more about Holland’s key offerings in Amsterdam and beyond. Participants learned about up-and-coming attractions, airline connections, and were also able to address their concerns about visa norms. Holland Sales Mission 2018 included participation of several private players from the Netherlands, including Lovers Canal Cruises, Efteling Theme Park, Henri Willig Cheese Farms, Madurodam theme park, and ITO Tours.
Marten van den Berg, Ambassador Designate, Kingdom of the Netherlands, said, “The Netherlands is about tradition, it is about long history, it is about art, visionary architecture, cutting-edge design, and also about romantic nightlife. There are so many places, other than Amsterdam, to go to in the Netherlands. It is also one of the most globalised countries in the world. We are extremely open to international trade, international investment, and because of our international connections, we have a wonderful infrastructure connected to all the countries in Europe. The Netherlands is also used as a hub for tourists to go to Paris, London, and Berlin. I would like you to visit the Netherlands, experience it, and enjoy it!”
Providing statistics on visa applications, Gerco Broekstra, Head of Operations and Consular Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New Delhi, said, “Visa applications to the Netherlands increased at a rate of least 20 per cent per year, with our embassy. In 2013, we were at 40,000 applications and we have already crossed 100,000 applications this year, which is quite a lot. This number, however, doesn’t count all the travellers and it is only the first-time visa applicants that have been taken into consideration here.” Broekstra also stressed on their going digital and how uploading the applications online would be a beneficial move.
Carola Muller-Van Rijn, Global Travel Trade Manager, NBTC Holland Marketing, said, “Last year, we had a growth of 31 per cent from the Indian market; we went up to 165,000 visitors from India to the Netherlands. For 2018, Holland Sales Mission is our key activity in the market. This year we expect a growth of over 25 per cent from the Indian market. We are mainly focusing on leisure tourists, and MiCE is more on a reactive basis. A lot of Indians travel to the Netherlands and go on a city tour. We also have beautiful castles and country houses in the Netherlands, as well as royal themes that Indians can explore. In terms of marketing, we have a 360-degree approach, so we focus on the travel trade, consumers, as well as press and PR. These are the three key elements for promotions.”
Holland is the land of picturesque cities and streets, tranquil canals, colourful tulips, world-famous cheese, amusement parks and everything else that you can think of. Tourism continues to be a significant contributing element to Holland’s economy. The Indian market continues to be one of the most important contributors of international visitors into the Netherlands and the numbers continue to rise.
The country is an ideal destination for MiCE groups as well. Ease of accessibility from India is the biggest advantage. The country’s compact size also makes travelling between the many Dutch cities easy, convenient, and less time-consuming. With a wide range of restaurants and hotel accommodations, from pleasant budget hotels to five-star accommodations, the country boasts an excellent convention infrastructure.