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Amstour: Review 2018 opportunities 2019

2018 was a successful, but very exciting year, for the river cruise industry. A record number of ships (and passengers) visited various destinations in the Netherlands. However, a beautiful summer led to huge problems on the big rivers. Due to a lack of melting water, high temperatures and no or hardly any precipitation there were sailing problems on the Danube in the first instance, but from the middle of August it was the turn of the Rhine. At some places in the Rhine the water was so low that you could cross over with a bit of guts. The unique thing about this situation was that the low water problem lasted until early December. For a number of shipping companies it meant that they had to cancel cruises. Other shipping companies had sufficient ships at different strategic positions so that they could make so-called "ship swaps". The guests were partly transported by ship and partly by bus from ship to ship. One shipping company made the decision to avoid the Rhine altogether and to offer a cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium as an alternative. This gave us the opportunity to show shipping companies that the Netherlands (and Belgium) is a great destination to visit outside the tulip season. New places and attractions were visited. We even had the opportunity, although not quite comparable to Germany, we organized a Christmas markets program in the Netherlands and Belgium. For many shipping companies the low water issue was an "eye-opener". Meanwhile, we are receiving the first reports that various shipping companies are considering (or have already set in motion) to ship ships in the Netherlands and Belgium for the entire season in the coming years. A unique opportunity to extend the season and thus contribute to the spread of tourism.