More and more Indians travelling to Amsterdam

 

Last year, a surprisingly high amount if Indian travellers found their way to the Netherlands, according to information published by the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions. With an increase of 30%, 130.000 Indian Travellers visited the Netherlands, India is the country showing the largest growth in Dutch Tourism.

 

According to Holland Marketing, one of the main reasons for this growth is the  increase in flight capacity on the Flights from India to Amsterdam. Indian airliner Jet Airways started daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Amsterdam since March 2016. Also the increase in advertising in India by the Netherlands is bringing more travellers to Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

 

The main expectation for 2017 is a continuing increase of tourism from India to the Netherlands. Besides India, Indonesia is also an expecting growing source of tourism. Japanese tourism to Amsterdam and the Netherlands will most probably stabilize as l lot of Japanese travellers cancelled their European trips due to fear of terrorism.

 

Source: AT5

The Amsterdam India Alliance

A blog by Wouter de Vries, owner at Damrep.

A year and a half ago I founded Damrep. I believed Indian travellers deserved more effort from local tour operators then they were receiving now. I decided to specialize myself in bringing Indians to Amsterdam

Maybe I got lucky, maybe I stepped in at the right time, but right after I started my company, Jet Airways announced having direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Amsterdam and back! 3 days after their first flight, I got my first BIG group of Indians in Amsterdam: 220 hair salon owners and manager invited by L’Oreal India for 5 days. If this would be the marker for what’s to come, my year would be good!

I’ve had many different encounters with Indians the last year, From eating all kind of different (and very spicy) dishes up to teaching how to say ‘Hurry up’ in Hindi, and meeting so many different Indian people, I can say I genuinely love the Indian culture. My hope is to also give a little bit of my culture back to my clients when in Amsterdam.

At one of the biggest travel fairs in Europe I met Wim van Meerveld, currently General Manager at Lovers. If there ever would be one person as enthusiastic about India as I was, it would be Wim. At that time Wim was General Manager at one of the biggest Coach rental companies in the Netherlands called OAD. The two of us immediately were on the same page: Get all the big guys in Dutch tourism like Madurodam, Keukenhof and Heineken together and team up for the same cause: Bring Indians to Amsterdam! Thus, the Amsterdam India Alliance was born!

Currently the Amsterdam India Alliance counts 12 different organisations, all dedicated on bringing Indians to Amsterdam. Damrep as the tour operator along with ITO, OAD doing the coaches and all attractions necessary to suit your needs. As an exclusive partner, all Damrep requests and trips will be done with our partners at the Amsterdam India Alliance.

If you are interested in travelling to Amsterdam, give me a call or send me an e-mail on wouter@damrep.com

5 Tips for Indian travellers to Amsterdam

As the owner of a Tour Operator in Amsterdam, specialized in the Indian market, we receive quite some questions about what to think about when travelling to Amsterdam. Below I have added some of the subjects which are important to know about Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

1.    The Climate:

For most Indian travellers coming over, Amsterdam is considered cold. Most West-European countries have a similar climate, but below I a chart which gives an impression on the Dutch weather. Keep in mind this is just an estimate, and the Dutch weather forecast can change rapidly.

The best period to travel to Amsterdam is May till September, althoug i can still be rainy.

The best period to travel to Amsterdam is May till September, althoug i can still be rainy.

 

My advice is: Always look up the weather on the day. You can consider to pack an extra jacket, but you can also choose to buy an umbrella at one of the many souvenir shops in the center of Amsterdam. A smaller one that will fit in your pocket or handbag will cost you approx € 5-10,-.

2.    What to do (And what not to)

The first thing I tell all my Indian incentive groups when they get out of the coach is: ‘Watch out for the bikes!’. Bicycles are the main form of transportation in Amsterdam and we’re proud to mention we have more bikes than people in Amsterdam. The bicycle culture in Amsterdam is easy but very clear: The red lanes are for the bikes. Bikes will ring their bells until the moment they run into you. And they will!

Second, if you do decide yourself to rent a bike, be careful of the tram rails. They are embedded in the streets, and therefor are easy to get your front wheel into. Front wheel into tram rails equals immediate fall. So always look at the road you’re driving.

Third, (this is 3 advices in one) when visiting the most infamous area in Amsterdam, the red Light district, don’t keep your wallet, phone, camera or iPad out in the open. There are pickpockets active and they will go so quickly you won’t be able to catch up. Also, if walking past the prostitutes, don’t take pictures! They will harass you or worse! Last advice, never purchase anything offered to you on the street. It’s not what they say it is.

3.     Tickets and attractions:

In the center at around every corner you will find a ticket vendor for all tourist things. Most of the times the shops will sell you an open ticket for any give attraction in Amsterdam. In the shops it’s not allowed to sell the tickets for ridiculous amounts in terms of the original retail price. Mostly you will get a fair deal. Buying tickets online is definitely possible, although look-out for vendors selling free add-ons for a price, or overpricing tickets under ‘Skip-the-line’. Most prepaid tickets are skip the line already, and if in doubt, get in touch with the attractions itself. One reliable shop you will find all over the center is Tours and Tickets.

All attractions can be visited while buying tickets on the day, but expect some waiting time. There is one exception: Anne Frank Huis. Only on their own website they will sell valid tickets, which will mostly sell out 2 months in advance. Don’t fall for ‘the Anne Frank experience’, or such, as they will not grant you access there. The prepurchased tickets are to book for daily visits until 3.30 Pm. Afterwards you have to queue up. Depending on time and weather, queues can be up to 1,5-2 hours. Which is not too bad compared with for example the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

4.     Do as the locals

What’s very important to know is that the Dutch cuisine isn’t the greatest, but as we have a lot of influences from the rest of Europe, a lot of different food is available in Amsterdam. The water out of all taps is the same quality as bottled water (This is regulated by the government and tested daily), most locals will have a prefilled bottle of water with them (You can refill your water bottle in any restroom). When the weather is good, everyone goes out to picknick in the parks, or on any nice site. My favourite spot is the roof of the Nemo museum, which is accessible for free and offers one of the best views over the city. Buy a French baguette, some salads (“Salade” in Dutch cuisine is a sort of sandwich spread), cheese, a bottle of wine or some beers, and chill out and watch the view. One thing is very, VERY important, also to the locals: Clean up afterwards. Everywhere in Amsterdam you can find garbage bins, which are emptied multiple times a week. Damrep takes groups from Amsterdam to Brussels and further to Paris. I always hear Amsterdam is one of the cleanest cities they have visited. Even in comparison to the other 2 capitals in Europe.

5.     Chill out, but don’t hold people up

When arriving in Amsterdam, you will find life moves at a slower pace than most of the big cities in India. Commitment to work is very different to Indian standard. In the Netherlands, on average an employee will work from 9am till 5 Pm, and that literally means he will arrive at the office at 8.50 AM, will drink coffee first and will pick-up the first phone call at 9.00AM sharp! At 5.01, he will already have his jacket on and his PC will be switched off. When he will hear a phone ring, he will smile at it and tell himself: “They will call back tomorrow. I’m going home.” Dutch people value the Work-life balance, and it’s even government regulated. This also means we will take life at a slower pace. There is however one thing most Dutchies don’t like, and that’s coming late. There are examples of restaurants refuse a table to someone showing up 15 minutes later without calling. This will happen often in tourism in Amsterdam. As the owner of Damrep, I understand the difference in culture and will therefor adapt a travel schedule to fit both cultures. Flexibility is our middle name!

 

Wouter de Vries is the owner of Damrep, a tour operator in Amsterdam dedicated to bring Indian travellers to the Netherlands. Wouter is a travel enthusiast, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Most trips he does are with his wife and 2 young children. Wouter hopes his travel genes will be inherited by his kids.

 

My experience of managing a travel incentive for Indian travellers.

Canals

As the owner of a local tour operator specialised in the Indian market, we bring a lot of Indians to Amsterdam and the Netherlands, and sometimes even Paris. We mainly do corporate travel incentive trips and also arrange customised packages for FIT’s. We know Indians are not the same as any other traveller. They require a little more attention and flexibility in their itineraries to be able to switch things around at short notice.  I know from experience, there is no point in trying to set a tight itinerary for groups coming from India. Rather, we prefer to discuss options at every stage of the trip and let the travellers make an informed decision.

We know Indians are passionate about visiting new countries and we ensure that we give them a wholesome experience when they visit Amsterdam & The Netherlands. On all our tours, we ensure that we hire knowledgeable and experienced guides who, besides the commentary, will always point out interesting things to see, such as windmills, canals, nice buildings, museums or churches.

We realise that Indian tourists come from a culture that is very different to European culture and first time travellers are sometimes overwhelmed by how the cities work. For e.g., in Amsterdam, they have to watch the bicycles! We try and make the transition as smooth as possible for them by giving tips and advice continuously.

As a travel professional who works almost exclusively with Indian groups, we ensure that the travellers have an awesome experience visiting our country and we specifically take care of the following points:

 

-       1: Food is important! We always ensure that we select restaurants that are tried and tested and continuously take feedback from the diners and pass it on to the restaurateurs. We discuss the menus in advance and ensure that there is variety everyday.

-       2: Always include a souvenir: The cost is minimal but the value of the gift is exponentially higher!

-       3: Patience is a virtue: With this I mean, let them wander around and take it all in! These are experiences that they’ll cherish for a lifetime. Don’t rush them from one attraction to another. Pick the top must see attractions and ensure that you cover them and if there is time, discuss some other options with them to see what would interest and excite them.

-       4: Shopping for souvenirs & gifts: An inherent part of the Indian culture is to bring back gifts for family and friends. Do include at least a half day for this and bring them to bargain shops.

 

I do hope you’ll get in touch with us for your next corporate travel incentive to The Netherlands. I look forward to showing you my country and sharing our culture with you…and hopefully, learn interesting things about your culture too!

 

By Wouter de Vries, owner at Damrep