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.
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.”
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.
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.
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