The Coronavirus crisis has severely affected the economy of The Hague. Our partners in The Hague are running out of reserves in the visitor economy. Shelf outside. So 2020 was a bad year with various lockdowns. However, there are some bright spots in The Hague & Partners annual results.
International companies and NGOs remain very interested in establishing their presence in The Hague, and global closures and Brexit have created new opportunities for the city. Visits in The Hague last year decreased less drastically than in the rest of the Netherlands, which gives good hope for a faster recovery. In addition, we reached more local and regional visitors through our “support locals” activities. Through hybrid conferences we have the opportunity to connect mega conferences to our city in the future. “It is important now to seize these opportunities in order to achieve a sustainable recovery of the economy as quickly as possible,” says Marco Esser, Director of The Hague & Co.
The Hague & Partners is the official marketing and acquisition organization in The Hague and focused on attracting (international) visitors, conferences, companies, and organizations to the city. In this way, the organization is giving a boost to the economy of The Hague. The economy of The Hague has been hit hard by the virus. The commercial and leisure tourism sector, which is usually very beneficial to the city, is struggling. This is why we, in cooperation with the municipality of The Hague, are working hard to achieve a sustainable and rapid recovery. Corona has forced us to change course very quickly. Digitization has enabled us to achieve results in 2020. ‘
Brexit and the Hague as a European rule
As part of The Hague & Partners, The Hague Business Agency is responsible for attracting international companies and NGOs to the city. Despite the overheated global economy, the revised 2020 targets have been met, which is positive for the coming year. For example, 23 international companies and NGOs have been brought to the city at a time when many companies are moving cautiously due to the fragile economy. These companies will eventually give The Hague an investment of € 31 million in the city. For example, the headquarters of the International Geothermal Association (IGA) is located in The Hague. Last year, despite the travel restrictions, 110 conversations, most of them hypothetical, were entered into with companies interested in establishing their presence in the Netherlands and possibly in The Hague. “Since Corona cripples international trade, international companies need a branch in Europe,” explains Esser. In this way, companies avoid disconnection from the European market in such a situation. The Hague has an attractive infrastructure of companies, NGOs and governments, which is now providing new opportunities for the city. ”Moreover, due to Brexit, there is great interest in a branch within the European Union of companies and NGOs from the United Kingdom.
Sea of Space provides hope for recovery
As part of The Hague & Co., The Hague Marketing Office is responsible for attracting visitors (local, regional, national and international) to the city. The visitor’s economy in The Hague has seen an unprecedented difficult year as night tourism has largely ceased and restaurants, museums and attractions have been forced to close. The number of visitors who stayed one night in the city in 2020 was logically much less than it was in 2019 when there was no Corona yet. Nevertheless, the numbers give good hope for a rapid recovery of night tourism in The Hague. In the Netherlands as a whole, the number of overnight stays for international visitors decreased by 65% in 2020, while the decrease in The Hague was 39%. The total number of overnight stays by inmates, nearly 1 million, decreased by 42 percent (versus -47 percent nationwide). Especially in summer, The Hague is still well visited. “With its beautiful 11 kilometers long beach, The Hague gives visitors a lot of space,” says Esser. “This year also we will focus on proliferation. The visitor’s economy has changed as a result of Corona. People are avoiding crowded areas and looking for second-tier cities that have everything but are less crowded. We can offer that with our space sea.”
As part of The Hague & Partners, the Hague Convention Bureau is focused on attracting international conferences to the city. Due to the corona, the organization of physical conferences has completely stopped. The number of conferences and events decreased to 16 in 2020. We have successfully kept the city at the forefront of our minds with our webinar program and the ongoing online vision of The Hague as a conference city. In the long term, more than 100 million euros were raised from leads this year. The new trend in the conference market is mixed conferencing, where there is actually a small percentage of visitors and a much larger percentage, roughly speaking. In the past year, the Hague Convention Office was able to become one of the global leaders in the field of hybrid conferences. In December, for example, the organization launched the Hybrid City Alliance with Canadian Tourism in Ottawa. This alliance will be expanded further in the next year. Hybrid conferences The Hague offers great opportunities for the future, because large conferences can be brought to a city that would otherwise not have a place.
Economic recovery and growth
The recovery in The Hague economy is partly linked to the development of the Coronavirus and measures to combat its spread. Based on the opportunities that have arisen in the past year from Corona, The Hague & Partners are convinced that the recovery can start quickly. The organization has a recovery plan for this. “We are committed to recovering in the short term, as job retention in the tourism and business sector is crucial for residents of Hagen and Hagen. With an emphasis on sustainable residential visits, we encourage visitors to stay longer in the city and take more advantage of the possibilities we offer as a city,” As Esser says. “This sector mainly provides work for people who are practically literate. So it is very important for them – who have very little other business in our city – that we can implement our recovery plan with extra strength.”
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