Amsterdam working on resident-first restart for tourism sector
While the fight against the coronavirus is still ongoing, Amsterdam is working behind the scenes on a way to restart the tourism sector in a sustainable way that puts city residents first, especially in the Amsterdam Centrum district, Het Parool reports.
"We don't want to bring back the nuisance caused by tourists," Geerte Udo of Amsterdam&partners, the organizations responsible for city marketing, said to the newspaper. Amsterdam&partners, the Centrum districts, and catering and hospitality institutions are discussing the opportunities the coronavirus crisis offers to give the city center back to Amsterdam residents and to work on "sustainable tourism", he said. "We have to grab this momentum. I really hope that the flat consumerism has disappeared from tourism when this is over."
After the previous recession, Amsterdam fully focused on tourism to kick-start the economy. Now the city is working on a new reputation for Amsterdam, focused on attracting tourists who do not cause problems, instead of the partying crowds. The new focus is also on Amsterdam residents. "It would be nice if the residents appreciate their own city and center more when this crisis is over," Udo said to the newspaper.
According to th city planner Zef Hemel, who is working on a vision for Centrum's future on behalf of mayor Femke Halsema, the Covid-19 crisis made clear that the city center is too dependent on tourism. Now that no visitors are coming, the streets are abandoned and economy has come to a halt, he said. But this is an opportunity to "tempt Amsterdammers to go back to the city center," he said.
Mascha ten Bruggencate, chairman of the Centrum District, agrees that this crisis suddenly presented the city with a golden opportunity. "We are trying to make the city center fun again for all of Amsterdam. And yes, we are suddenly taking two steps forward."