Though responsible agencies claim tourists are still welcome in the Netherlands, the country’s most popular city would rather cut the numbers instead of plot future increases.
The number of tourists visiting Amsterdam in the Netherlands is high, on the rise, and projected to double within the next twelve years.
“The pressure is very high,” Ellen van Loon, a partner at Dutch architectural firm OMA who is involved in adapting the city for the future, told CNN.
“We don’t want to turn into a Venice. The problem we are currently facing is that Amsterdam is so loved by tourists, we just have so many coming to the city.”
The Netherlands, including the city of Amsterdam, acknowledges that tourism brings a welcome and hefty sum of €83 billion to the economy each year. However, locals fear Amsterdam is being taken over by the pressures of too many tourists. The increased tourist numbers are partly a consequence of the availability of more low-cost flights.
Forecasts say that while Amsterdam last year had 18 million tourists, under current growth rates the figure will more than double to 42 million by 2030. The city’s goal is to keep that figure down to 29 million instead.
As a consequence of the need to reduce the inflow of tourists in Amsterdam, the city has stopped campaigns to attract more tourists from abroad. Now the city is focusing on “destination management” instead of “destination promotion.”
In fact, the work of the tourist board is now aimed at keeping some tourists away. For example, the city will be offering fewer accommodation options such as Airbnb and entertainment opportunities for tourists.
Specifically, the authorities have asked companies to suspend tours with visits to the so-called “red light district” from next year, as well as not granting new permits to open new tourist shops in the city centre, where licenses to rent private homes via Airbnb have also been cut.
But Amsterdam plans to continue to cater to the lucrative meeting and conference tourists who spend a lot of money during their visit to the city.
However, at the end of last year, the Dutch agency in charge of the promotion of tourism closed its office in Stockholm, suspending operations in Scandinavia.