This research was conducted by Ruben van Loon and Jan Rouwendal at VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands


This paper reports on the expenditure patterns of urban tourists by analysing Amsterdam visitor surveys between 2006 to 2011. The results show that most tourists who visit Amsterdam primarily visit for the city’s rich cultural amenities. However, the types of attractions they attend are not limited to just those that serve the primary purpose of their visit.

There is a relationship between purpose of trip and expenditure levels

Tourists who visit Amsterdam spend on average €139.01 per day. Those whose trip to Amsterdam was for culture predominantly visited a museum (80 per cent) but 30 per cent also visited a cannabis shop. For those 3 per cent who indicated cannabis as the main travel purpose, 30 per cent visited a cannabis shop and 76 per cent visited a museum, which indicates that many tourists who visit Amsterdam for one specific amenity also appreciate other characteristics of the city. Tourists who are on vacation spend significantly less per person per day than those who visit Amsterdam for business.

The relationship between country of origin and expenditure

The results revealed that respondents with the longest travel distance have the highest expenditures. Chinese, American and Russian tourists spend the most money per person per day and allocate their budget to expensive accommodation and to museum visits. Dutch overnight tourists allocate more of their daily budget to shopping than tourists from other countries and this remains an important customer group for shops in Amsterdam. As such, the study provides useful insights for destination marketers when devising marketing strategies for different target groups.

This summary is by Shelly-Ann Gajadhar, King’s Knowledge Exchange Associate

Title Travel purpose and expenditure patterns in city tourism: evidence from the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
Author(s) Van Loon, R., Rouwendal, J.
Publication date 2017
Source Journal of Cultural Economics, Vol 41, pp 109-127
Author email