Rotterdam continues to attract growing numbers of tourists, businesses and residents

Rotterdam continues to grow both as a tourism hotspot and as a location for new businesses and residents. The number of hotel stays in Rotterdam rose by 6% in 2015 compared to the previous year. The number of new foreign property investors that are located in the city increased to 65 in 2015. This is revealed in the annual figures published by city promoter Rotterdam Partners today.

The above results mean Rotterdam, which Lonely Planet named ‘Best in Travel City 2016’ late last year, has now seen its tourism figures rise for five consecutive years. The city attracted 969,000 hotel guests last year who together accounted for nearly 1.6 million hotel stays. The hotel figures reveal that the majority of guests are from the Netherlands (55%). The largest numbers of international guests come from Germany (7%), the United Kingdom (7%) and Belgium (5%).

The attractions also benefited from growing tourism. They collectively welcomed 3.25 million visitors in 2015, representing an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. The top-three most popular paid attractions in 2015 were Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp), Spido and the Euromast. Rotterdam’s museums received 1.02 million visits in 2015, which is the same figure as in 2014. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Kunsthal and Rotterdam Maritime Museum were among the most popular museums.

The increase in tourism was also visible at Rotterdam Info’s city tourist information centres located at Coolsingel and Rotterdam Central Station. Together they provided 460,000 visitors with information, 42,000 more than in 2014.

The Rotterdam economy furthermore benefited from increasing business activity in 2015. The city attracted or expanded a total of 65 foreign investment projects in 2015, an increase of 25 compared to the previous year. Rotterdam Partners was very closely involved with 39 of these investment projects. The good physical and digital connectivity make the Rotterdam region an attractive location for foreign companies. The region attracted 7 new international headquarters in 2015, including the European headquarters of ZPMC. Distribution and service centres and marketing and sales offices also continue to be strongly represented in the region. The arrival of the 39 companies will create 1,262 direct jobs and more than 2,000 indirect jobs and inject a combined investment of 65 million euros into the regional economy. These foreign companies also filled more than 13,000 square metres of the vacant office space in the region.

The majority of the investment projects once again came from Asia in 2015. They included companies such as drone manufacturer DJI, EZRA, ZENER Maritime Solutions, Daiwa Kasei and WR Fibers. The number of companies from the United States increased in 2015 compared to the previous year, with 6 new companies deciding to locate in Rotterdam in 2015, including CIC, Apprenda and Tendril.

Residents from the Netherlands and abroad
Rotterdam is increasingly a magnet for international talent, including knowledge migrants. Nearly 1,000 knowledge migrants and their families located in the Rotterdam region in 2015. Rotterdam was also popular as a place to live for members of the Dutch population, with more people in the Netherlands moving to Rotterdam than to the other large Dutch cities.

Maarten Struijvenberg, Rotterdam Vice Mayor Employment and Economy:
‘These positive figures confirm that we have a world to offer as Rotterdam. This is true whether you’re talking investment, business activities or tourism. It’s vital for the Rotterdam economy that we continue to develop an attractive business and investment climate. Rotterdam has a strong need for the jobs and investment that accompany the arrival of tourism and businesses.’

Ron Voskuilen, Managing Director of Rotterdam Partners:
‘The rising figures show that Rotterdam is still succeeding in further developing its positive international image. The first indications for 2016 are also positive. Rotterdam is now positioning itself more and more expressly on the international map as a creative and innovative city. A place where this year visitors will be able to walk across floating islands made of recycled plastic. Rotterdam is also a city where potential new investors and companies find a highly interconnected eco system in which innovations are developed, tested and produced.’

Erik de Wit, Chairman of the Rotterdam Hotel Association:
‘Six percent more hotel stays is brilliant news. The recovery in tourism is causing room rates for 3, 4 and 5 star hotels to start rising again. But with average hotel prices of around 88 euros, we’re still got a long way to go before we reach the competitive level. We’re currently seeing growth in primarily weekend tourism. The collective challenge we face is to also promote multi-day business tourism and conference visits to Rotterdam in order to improve hotel occupancy rates on weekdays.’

About Rotterdam Partners: promotor of the Rotterdam economy
Rotterdam Partners has the objective of strengthening the Rotterdam economy. We work for visitors, businesses and residents who are already based in the city or those who plan to come here or establish themselves here. Rotterdam Partners has three core tasks. First of all, Rotterdam Partners is the link that connects governmental bodies, businesses and institutions together. In addition, we facilitate the organisation of activities, respond to queries from those considering relocating to Rotterdam and work towards addressing economic issues. We also undertake initiatives which promote the regeneration of the Rotterdam economy. Finally, we bring together supply and demand in the fields of tourism, business events and conferences.