A'dam to present measures against over-tourism by December; Hotels want day-tripper tax
Amsterdam is working on a package of measures to limit tourist flows in the city center and will present it before December, alderman Sofyan Mbarki (Economic Affairs) said, Parool reports. The hotel sector is pushing for a tax on day trippers to the city to cut tourism instead of increasing the tourist tax on overnight stays.
The city is responding to an ABN Amro report that the number of overnight stays in Amsterdam will top 18 million this year - the limit at which Amsterdam promised to intervene following a widely supported citizens' initiative. “We fully agree with the recommendation that we should reposition ourselves as a city. What kind of city do we want to be and what kind of visitors do we want? That is exactly what we are doing now,” Mbarki (PvdA) said to the newspaper.
“We started work immediately after the first forecasts were received and are working towards a package of measures,” Mbarki said. “That will be ready before December 1 this year. As far as we are concerned, all measures are on the table. We also need the help of the hotels. What will the hotel industry itself do? Ultimately, we have to do it together.”
The city planned to increase tourist tax by up to 30 percent to reduce the number of tourists, but ABN Amro economist Stef Driessen advised against this. He believes that may lead to fewer business travelers, but problem-causing party tourists will still go to Amsterdam.
Instead, he argued for measures to target the much larger group of day trippers. This year, between 17 and 19 million day-trippers are expected to visit the city, compared to up to 8 million tourists who spend the night. Because they don’t sleep in the city, they don’t pay the tourist tax, but they contribute three times as much to the crowd as tourists who do spend the night.
“Municipalities like Amsterdam can introduce a day tourist tax, with a surcharge on tickets for the train, bus, and tram and on parking rates. Let people who do not live in the city help pay for measures against the crowds. Exclude Amsterdammers from this because they already pay property taxes and levies,” Driessen said.
The hotel sector likes a day-tripper tax much more than an increase in the tourist tax, Remco Groenhuijzen, chairman of the Amsterdam luxury hotel consultation, said to Parool. He pointed out that visitor numbers are growing despite the municipality increasing tourist tax sharply in the past two years.
“The municipality should not expect that half of the rooms will remain empty. If you increase the tax, you will hit the conventions first - the visitor who respects the city. This weekend the International Broadcasting Convention was in the RAI with about 50,000 visitors. Did that make it crowded in the city?” According to Groenhuijzen, targeting the much larger group of day trippers makes much more sense.