Amsterdam is known for its tulips, having more canals compared to Venice, its historical museums, and liberation towards sex and drugs — as seen in their Infamous Red light district. But recently, the country is viewed “not so fond” of having visitors around.
CNN’s Richard Quest and some of his colleagues interviewed some citizens to get to know more of the problems that Amsterdam is facing because of over tourism. Too many travelers adore the Amsterdam, which sometimes, too many for the city to handle, said Ellen Van Loon who works at a Dutch Architectural Firm OMA, an organization in charge of making plans for the town.
Van Loon accepts the fact that tourism plays an integral part in the country’s economy, adding an estimate of 82 billion euros ($91.5 billion) yearly. Most locals are “worried” that “soaring” travelers are crowding and may jeopardize the city.
The city is not a stranger to the over tourism trend that other European travel destinations experience. In this generation where airline fares are less expensive, and online bookings are quick and easy; tourists overwhelm these beautiful destinations in an unsustainable way.
Last 2018, an estimated 19 million tourists went to visit the capital of the Netherlands, which is has a population of 850,000. And the influx of Amsterdam tourists is forecasted to continuously “rise” from 18 million in 2018 to 42 million in 2030; 50 times higher than the city’s population.
Some of the proposed solutions involve discouraging groups of annoying tourists by either setting a limit or close down lodgings, hotels and popular souvenirs/entertainment products and ticketing outlets. Also, to promote other travel destinations in the Netherlands — some of the mentioned solutions are currently implemented.
Last December 2018, the famous “I Amsterdam” sign was taken away from the city’s leading art gallery upon the city’s request since it’s inviting too many tourists at a minimal space. It was relocated to a less well-known spot to lead travelers away from the city’s center.
One of Amsterdam’s famous icons, the tulips, have also been affected by mass tourism. Some selfie-loving visitors are wrecking flower fields. This prompted the tourism board to create a Guide of Dos and Don’ts when taking pictures.
Furthermore, to prevent travelers from ruining tulip fields while taking selfies, slogans with the label, ‘Enjoy the flowers, respect our pride’ are established within the area to remind tourists. Other garden owners also decided to put fences to secure the flowers.
One of the other reasons why tourists are attracted to Amsterdam is because of its liberalism and freedom — which is seen in its Red light district. The place is full of pubs, sex shops, and prostitutes in glass booths.
But this year, the city government declared to end the tours of the district because sex workers are treated as a tourist attraction and locals can no longer tolerate rowdy, binge-drinking, and vomiting travelers. The ban will be effective starting January 1, 2020, to give time to tour companies to close their business gradually.
Amsterdam is not the only European city to face over tourism problems. Other cities such as Barcelona, Dubrovnik, and Venice also did.
Currently, the Netherlands tourism organization decided to halt promoting the nation’s tourism industry. According to their Perspective 2030 report, which was released this year, their focus will be on managing the destination compared to promoting it.
The report also included the country’s plan of action, considering that the if right measures are not done, an overabundance of visitors will affect Amsterdam’s livability.