The Hague & Partners organizes debate

On 5 March, in the run-up to the elections of the municipal council, the first major event took place where the leaders of the political parties in The Hague discussed the economic future of the city. In the ‘Paard’, the three foundations of The Hague & Partners, shared their economic results of 2017 and their plans for the future.

The partner event of The Hague & Partners attracted more than 280 guests and seven party leaders. During the event ‘It’s the economy stupid’ the three foundations gave a brief overview of last years’ results on behalf of The Hague & Partners and an outlook on the long-term strategies. The highlight of the evening was the debate between the party leaders of VVD, D66, GroenLinks, Groep de Mos, CDA, Haagse Stadspartij and PvdA. In duo’s they entered the discussion on important economic themes and also spearheads of The Hague & Partners: attracting visitors, conferences and foreign companies.

Political visions
CDA and Groep de Mos opened the debate about the statement “use the tourist tax as structural financing for tourist marketing”. Groep de Mos states that The Hague is the most beautiful city in the Netherlands, and this must be promoted nationally and internationally. Whether the tourist tax should serve as structural funding stayed unanswered by Groep de Mos. Karsten Klein, CDA, was in favor: “structural funding can be spent on city branding and campaigns, which provide a positive image of The Hague”.

During the second debate, the VVD and the Haagse Stadpartij debated on the statement ‘The Hague needs a uniform international branding and profile”. According to VVD party leader Boudewijn Revis, The Hague needs an unambiguous, international profiling and branding. “We have to use the genes of the city to define The Hague as a brand. By contrast, Peter Bos, Haagse Stadspartij, states that it is impossible to unequivocally profile The Hague. “The Hague is diverse; it has resorts, industrial estates and a new and old center. There is something for everyone to do and we must propagate that diversity. ”

During the last debate of the evening, party leaders from PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks discussed in the whether the future of The Hague is international. PvdA is in favor but want to make sure low-skilled people profit from this international growth. D66 finds the presence of international companies an asset to the city. “The international market is letting the economy of The Hague grow.” GroenLinks states that The Hague should only attract international companies that fit the profile of the city and can invest in sustainable energy.

Successful year The Hague & Partners
The Hague & Partners has had a successful year. Marco Esser, director of The Hague Marketing Bureau, shared the good results of recent years and the strategy for 2018 and beyond: “Tourism to The Hague is growing fast. Based on the preliminary figures for 2017, we see an increase of 10%. Over the period 2012-2017, the increase is even 40%. Tourism is therefore an important growth sector for The Hague. The Hague Marketing Bureau wants to focus on quality tourists with average high spending over the next four years. This also fits with the profile of the city. In this way we not only ensure prosperity, but we also keep an eye on the well-being of the inhabitants of The Hague. The aim is to generate an extra impulse, as a result of day and stay visits in the leisure market, of 350 million euros in 2018 to 425 million euros in 2022. This translates into 1,000 full-time jobs. ”

The Hague welcomed 149 international conferences in 2017, representing a spin-off of 70 million euros; a growth of 69%. “A result that we as a city can be extremely proud of,” says Nienke van der Malen – van der Horst, director of The Hague Convention Bureau. “The congress market is still offering plenty of opportunities for the city in the future. Congresses are an important link in the knowledge economy and stimulate real estate developments and investments. They contribute to the brand awareness of the city and generate employment, especially for the less educated part of the labor market. That is why it is important that we uniquely position The Hague as a first-class conference destination. So nothing stands in the way of us conquering a place in the top 50 international conference destinations! ”

According to Ilja van Haaren, director The Hague Business Agency, The Hague is not only attractive for congresses and visitors, but also for international companies and organisations: “Attracting foreign investments is of great importance for The Hague. It contributes to economic growth and creates employment. Last year, a record number of 43 foreign companies opened an office or expanded existing activities in The Hague with the assistance of The Hague Business Agency. These companies are expected to create 657 additional jobs over three years and jointly invest € 37 million in the city. We can only achieve this result with optimal efforts and good cooperation with partners in this city. ”

We are The Hague & Partners

The Hague & Partners is the new umbrella organisation that facilitates the joint efforts of The Hague Marketing Bureau, The Hague Convention Bureau and The Hague Business Agency.