The number of Chinese who traveled to the Netherlands has surged in the past five years despite concerns over terrorist attacks in Europe, said senior executives of domestic tourism platforms.
They credited the rise to increasing consumer affluence in China and policies launched by the West European country to attract overseas visitors.
In the past five years, the number of Chinese travelers to the Netherlands has jumped by 300,000, according to a report by the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions in November. But it didn't give the current figure. The number is expected to increase by more than 500,000 in the next five years.
"In 2016, Chinese tourists to the Netherlands fell by almost half due to concerns over European terrorist attacks, but the influence was short-lived… The number rebounded in 2017," Qu Yu, director for the European market in the tourism department of online travel platform Ctrip, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Qu noted that the Netherlands is one of the safest nations in the world and has not suffered from any terrorist attack so far.
Li Qiuyan, general manager of public relations at domestic travel platform lvmama.com, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Netherlands has taken many measures to lure Chinese travelers.
"For example, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on January 1 launched an Alipay platform, enabling Chinese consumers to purchase items using digital wallets," Li said.
Qu mentioned the 11 new visa centers the country opened around China since 2016 as well as a new tax refund policy.
The fast-expanding middle class in China is interested in high-end and innovative itineraries such as those including the Netherlands, said Li.
Qu agreed. He noted that the Netherlands is a "romantic, artistic yet open" country.
Given this situation, it may be challenging for the Netherlands' high-end tourism resources to appeal to China's mass consumption group, Li stressed.
Qu urged the Netherlands to ease visa conditions. Currently, Chinese tourists can only get a single-entry visa and stay from one to three months.
Besides, "airlines may also consider launching direct flights from the Netherlands to second- and third-tier Chinese cities, so as to shorten travel times and attract more tourists," Qu suggested.
Every week, there are about 40-50 flights between Amsterdam and eight Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Qu added.