The region now wants to make targeted efforts to continue this growth. A regional consultation team will keep constant track of developments in the industry, highlight areas ripe for new hotels and offer expert advice regarding new initiatives. The participating municipalities envisage that this approach will allow for the timely anticipation of developments in the hotel sector.
The municipalities of Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer (the location of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) play a prominent role in the hotel strategy, in light of the fact that they are home to by far the most hotels and plans for new hotels. The remaining 34 municipalities in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, from Lelystad to Haarlem, have all expressed their support for the strategy.
Hotel policy 2006-2015 and recent hotel industry developments
High room prices and occupation rates resulted in the target being set in 2006 to create 15,000 additional hotel rooms in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area by 2015. Of these, 9,000 were to be located in Amsterdam and the remaining 6,000 spread throughout the region. It appears that these targets will be met. At the end of 2012, there were approximately 33,000 hotel rooms in the entire region – 23,000 of these in the municipality of Amsterdam. In 2007, the approximate figures were 27,000 and 18,000 respectively. Plans are also already underway to build new hotels and convert vacant office premises into hotels in the coming years.
Amsterdam Alderperson for Economic Affairs Carolien Gehrels commented on developments, saying: “The additional rooms were essential in order to facilitate increasing the numbers of tourists and business visitors. New hotel initiatives will also be welcomed in the coming years. However, we are also keen to follow developments closely so that we can anticipate a potential surplus of rooms on time. It’s important that new hotels actually bring something to the table. Some areas offer a host of opportunities while the options in other areas are more limited. We want to ensure that developments stay on track”.
The growth has resulted in a larger and more varied range of hotels. The hotels are spread more evenly throughout the city and region, and the correct balance between occupancy, price and range of hotels has been achieved. Recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands indicate a 7.5% increase in hotel reservations in Amsterdam in the first half of 2013. At 77.5%, the occupancy rate is also at the desired level. In recent years, the additional hotel rooms have contributed to the increase from 9 million overnight stays in 2007 to the current total, in excess of 10 million. In addition, these new rooms have led to the creation of an estimated 2,400 new jobs and helped generate additional income from tourism.
Quality criteria and the regional consultation team
The hotel strategy features clear spatial and economic quality criteria, a useful aid to municipalities and investors assessing the viability of new initiatives. For example, the criteria address the effect on and added value for the surrounding area, the proximity of public transport and the financial feasibility of the plans.
Adam Elzakalai, Haarlemmermeer Alderperson for the Economy: “We are also experiencing strong demand for new hotels in Haarlemmermeer. Numerous plans have recently been submitted and we have also received requests to convert vacant office premises near Schiphol and Beukenhorst into hotels. It’s important that a sound balance between supply and demand is sustained in the hotel market. The driving principle is that the right hotel is located at the right place. We are now collaborating with the rest of the region to create a healthy and transparent hotel market.”
A regional consultation team will constantly monitor developments in the hotel industry in the region, also keeping a keen eye on visitor numbers. The team will provide potential investors with information, assist with ensuring an even spread of hotels throughout the region and make recommendations to municipalities regarding favourable areas and specific hotel requests. The consultation team will consist of at least three members, with the municipalities of Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer always being represented. An independent expert will also be a member of the team.
The quantitative target of creating 9,000 additional hotel rooms in Amsterdam by 2015 will remain in place. The new approach as set out in the regional hotel strategy 2016-2022 will be put into effect in 2014.