Amsterdam to discourage tourism in fight against Covid-19
Amsterdam is going to focus on keeping day trippers and tourists away in a further attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the city. The local security region Veiligheidsregio Amsterdam-Amstelland will decide on which new measures to take to achieve this on Tuesday, the Volkskrant reports.
Amsterdam is by far the city with the most new coronavirus infections. On Monday, public health institute RIVM reported 574 new infections. 124 of them happened in Amsterdam.
After the government's last press conference last week Tuesday, a ban on tourists and day trippers in Amsterdam was mentioned as an ultimate measure in a letter from the Security Council. That turned out to be a mistake, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said later the same evening. But as the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise, the measures are now under more serious consideration, according to the newspaper.
This tourism policy is a politically sensitive topic, partly because the Amsterdam coalition already vowed to put a stop to the ever-expanding tourism in the city before the coronavirus pandemic started. The reduction of tourism will also cause major economic damage. Last year Amsterdam welcomed 20 million tourists, who together paid 178 million euros in tourist tax - almost the same amount the municipality receives in property tax. Tourism also accounts for 70 thousand jobs, about 20 percent of the city's workforce.
According to Marianne Poot, of opposition party VVD, the coalition is "abusing" the coronavirus crisis to reduce tourism. Sources from within the coalition disputed this in conversations with the newspaper.
"We also know that banning tourists costs money. It is now about tackling the spread of corona. Anyone can see that things are getting out of hand in the tourist areas. The banning of tourists is not as far-reaching as a second lockdown, because then the consequences are completely incalculable," the Volkskrant quoted a city councilor.