Brabant’s leisure sector is growing twice as quickly as expected.

The leisure sector in Brabant has grown significantly since 2013. So significantly in fact that the goal which was set for 2020 has already been achieved in 2017. The leisure sector in Brabant is therefore growing twice as quickly as expected. This is evident in an analysis by the Nederlandse Hogeschool voor Toerisme en Verkeer (Netherlands Institute for Tourism and Traffic) NHTV and based on sources from NBTC-NIPO Research.

The Province of Noord-Brabant had an ambition to raise spending and employment significantly in Brabant’s leisure sector by actively stimulating from within the leisure industry. Anticipated economic growth was already taken into account when formulating this ambition for 2020. But growth in Brabant’s leisure sector since 2013 has been much more significant: a growth of 25% in spending has already been achieved. Growth in the number of jobs in the entire sector is already 22% and in the subsector culture, recreation and sport is no less than 46%.

Bert Pauli, deputy legislator for Economics and Internationalisation: “In 2013 Brabant had a lot of catching up to do compared to the rest of the Netherlands. During the past two years growth in the leisure sector in Brabant has been more significant than in the rest of the Netherlands in a number of areas. This shows that Brabant’s approach is working and we can take advantage of the opportunities. And we’ve not reached our limit yet!”

More visitors, more spending, more jobs

When VisitBrabant started up at the end of 2014, a consistent and intensive effort was made to attract foreign visitors. Thematic programming (Van Gogh 2015 and Hieronymus Bosch 2016) clearly attracted more foreign tourists with a higher level of spending. The number of overnight stays at hotels rose significantly and the Van Gogh theme and activities related to it also stimulated visits in the subsequent years. The Design theme also positioned Brabant in 2017 as an attractive destination for a target group with a higher level of spending.

Brabant has an especially good position in the Belgian market; with more than one million overnight stays in 2016, Brabant took second place in the Netherlands with a market share of 19%. And the upward trend continues; for the entire overseas sector we see a growth of 12% in foreign guests for the first five months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. The number of short breaks to Brabant has risen and family holidays have increased. This growth has not led to disruption by mass tourism because Brabant is committed to quality and to an even distribution of demand.

Heleen Huisjes, director of VisitBrabant: “We are proud of these results. Quality and distinction in what we can offer remains our focus. Brabant has a relatively high number of small scale attractions and needs to invest in innovation to maintain them. In order to achieve this we must take a joint approach; the province with local councils, cultural institutions, skill centres and entrepreneurs, both large and small.”

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