New plan to deter tourists from Amsterdam post-COVID

Amsterdam is empty of tourists — and they like it. The city is looking to implement measures that will deter tourists once the pandemic calms down.

These changes could include taxing day-trippers, discount cards for Amsterdam residents, and a ban on holiday rentals like Airbnb.

Amsterdam & Partners, the former city marketing agency, have made recommendations to put such measures in place with the goal that by 2025 tourists will not pose such a hindrance on Amsterdam residents.

Geerte Udo, director of Amsterdam & Partners, explained that many Amsterdammers often felt alienated from their own city due to the enormous quantity of tourists prior to the pandemic.

“As a result of coronavirus, we as Amsterdammers, are experiencing first-hand what we normally miss, due to the visitors staying away, but also how nice it is to be a customer, guest or visitor in our own city,” she told Het Parool.

Tourist Tax

Currently, a tourist tax is in place which must be paid by tour guide companies and hotels. Normally, this tax yields almost €200 million per year, and targets tourists staying for longer periods of time.

However, there is currently no fee for those visiting Amsterdam for just the day.

“On average, half of the tourists are day visitors. We don’t think it’s okay that the pressure is now almost entirely on the hotels and shipping companies,” says Udo.

“This does not mean that you have to levy a toll on everyone who comes from outside, but our advice is to investigate whether a city ​​tax can have a guiding or discouraging effect.”

Favouring Amsterdammers

Amsterdam & Partners has urgently recommended the immediate banning of holiday rental homes, like Airbnb, throughout the city.

Not only will this reduce the influx of tourists, but it will relieve the pressure on the housing crisis in Amsterdam.

Airbnb is already banned in the historic city centre, and is heavily restricted throughout the city.

The Red Light District is another large drawcard for Amsterdam, which the marketing agency want to reorganise.

Large amounts of tourists travel to the city only for prostitution, and so the agency has argued for redesigning the open-window prostitution setup.

Similarly, Udo wants to change how coffeeshops operate, so that day-trippers no longer travel to Amsterdam for weed.

Finally, Amsterdam & Partners want the residents of Amsterdam to benefit more from the tourist industry. Introducing a resident’s pass is one way to do this, in which locals can get discounts and benefits at museums and shops around the city.

“Seduce residents to make more use of the city and to enjoy the enormous offer, so that entrepreneurs and the culture become less dependent on visitors,” says Udo.

What do you think of this new initiative? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image: redcharlie/Unsplash

Emily Burgerhttps://emilycburger.wixsite.com/expression
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I stayed in Amsterdam for four nights, twice yearly, up until Covid, since 2009.
    I consider myself a considerate tourist, I don’t get drunk and make noise, or fight, or use the streets as a vomitorium. I like to see the architecture of the city, travel its canals, see its sights and enjoy myself, quietly and with respect for the native and resident Amsterdammers.
    I pay the tourist tax on my stays, I add to the Amsterdam economy and take nothing from Dutch public services [medical] during my stays.
    I hope that, in re-orienting the city to the benefit of its residents, Amsterdam will not end up prohibitively expensive for genuine, quiet, law-abiding travellers like me.

  2. I think this is great. I live in a place that is considered ‘desirable’ and where tourists outnumber residents, and it’s awful. My home doesn’t feel like my home; it feels like someone else’s holiday playground.
    I also think it will attract desirable visitors, like the poster above. I haven’t been in Amsterdam in years, and one of the reasons I have not is that it’s too crowded. But if they Implement these laws, it may actually become a nice place to visit again.

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