After strict management of "drug tourism" through its prohibition in 2010, Maastricht has little by little constructed a more stable touristic reputation. Thanks to more sustainable springboards, the city's hoteliers are now reaching new heights: on the first seven months of 2017, the city's performances have drastically improved.
Known for the signing of the famous Maastricht Treaty, which led to the European Union and the adoption of euro, the city that lies at the border of Belgium and Germany used to have an economy based on glass manufacturing and the cement industry, but shifted towards the tertiary sector at the end of the 20th century. In fact, the city's 120,000 inhabitants have benefited from synergies made possible by its location at the heart of dynamic European regions, close to major metropolises (Liege, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr region, Brussels...), and its high concentration of students. The university of Maastricht has 15,000 students, more than half of whom are foreign.
Maastricht thus relies a great deal on its "student city" fame to attract leisure tourists. The city has kept its festive reputation, although the visitor profile has evolved over the last decade. Tired of the nuisances associated with "drug tourism", since 2010 the city has forbidden the sale of cannabis to foreigners inside coffee-shops, resulting in the closing of a certain number of businesses. But its nightlife, festivals, historical center (most notably the Dominican church turned bookstore - the Selexyz Dominicanen - in a gothic church dating back to the 13th century) and lively highstreets have made Maastricht a city booming with tourism development.
Large-scale events are organized every year, such as the TEFAF, one of the biggest antiquities fairs in the world, the Preuvenemint, which is a festival organized around local food culture, that draws more than 100,000 visitors every year, and the HoliFusion and Kingsland electronic music festivals.
Taking advantage of Maastricht's growing touristic aura, its hoteliers are doing well. While the supply has grown, with the noteworthy opening this year of the boutique hotel Maastricht Monastery, operated by Vondel Hotels (a 4-star hotel in a building dating back to the 14th century), results are also on the rise:
According to data from MKG Consulting - OlaKala_destination Observatory, the occupancy rate of hotels rose to 72.2% during the first seven months of 2017, a 3.4 point increase of compared to the same period in 2016. And the average daily rate follows suit with an increase by more than 6.5%. Together, the increases in occupancy and prices allow hotels in Maastricht's hotels to see their RevPAR increase by 11.7% at the beginning of 2017. The trend has been favorable for some years: between 2012 and 2016, the occupancy rate had already grown by more than five points, and the average daily rate had begun to rise in 2014, gaining +7.5% in two years.
Maastricht thus seems to have found its balance, in contrast to American cities that plan to develop resorts based on cannabis consumption and also European cities no longer seeking to maximize their tourist arrivals. Far from these concerns, tourism can prosper today on the banks of the Meuse.
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