Netherlands smoking ban likely to strengthen hospitality and catering industry

A recent court ruling in the Netherlands has banned smoking areas in restaurants, bars and cafes. In 2008, the Netherlands banned smoking in restaurants, which included an exception for specially designated smoking areas that had to comply with certain rules. The court has now ruled that this exception for smoking rooms is contrary to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which the Netherlands has ratified.

The ruling has opened the discussion as to whether this will negatively influence the revenue of the hospitality sector – but research indicates that a comprehensive smoke-free policy including a total ban in bars and restaurants does not damage the hospitality and catering industries. On the contrary, studies have shown a positive or neutral effect on revenue in the hospitality industry. This is as a result of making venues more attractive for the clientele, increasing the custom from non-smokers and not having the feared effect of putting off smokers. As well as this direct impact on revenue, smoke-free environments result in a healthier workforce and a healthier and wealthier clientele, both of which strengthen the future for the hospitality and catering industry.