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Amsterdam Halts New Hotel Builds, Reduces River Cruise Stays

In a proactive move to alleviate overcrowding, Amsterdam has opted to enforce a ban on the construction of new hotels. Additionally, the city intends to implement measures to reduce river cruise stays, aiming to address the issue of overtourism in the Dutch capital.

The Amsterdam city council conveyed their intentions via X, stating, "Our aim is to maintain the city's livability for both residents and visitors. This entails: combating over-tourism, halting new hotel developments, and capping tourist hotel stays at 20 million annually."

Reports indicate that under the new regulation, the construction of a new hotel will only be permitted if another hotel ceases operations. However, exceptions may be made for establishments seeking to maintain the same total sleeping accommodations while enhancing existing standards, such as sustainability. Notably, this regulation does not apply to hotels that have already obtained construction permits.

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Amsterdam has been actively pursuing strategies to manage the influx of tourists, which reaches millions annually, including efforts to discourage sex and drug-related tourism in the renowned red-light district.

The motives of tourists visiting the Dutch capital have drawn scrutiny from locals repeatedly. In 2023, a significant 49.7 million guests opted for accommodations in hotels, campsites, and holiday parks across The Netherlands, marking an 8.1 percent increase compared to 2022, setting a new record.

Simultaneously, Amsterdam is contemplating a substantial reduction in the number of river boat cruises as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat over-tourism. This initiative is just one of "a hundred" measures being rolled out to tackle the issue.

Last year, approximately 2,300 cruise ships docked along the city's waterfront. However, by 2028, Amsterdam aims to halve this number to 1,150, resulting in a reduction of 271,000 tourists annually. Nevertheless, this reduction is projected to impact the region's economy by €73.5 million per year.

The challenges posed by the influx of cruises are particularly pronounced during the spring bulb season, when up to 1,000 river boats converge on the capital. City finance chief Hester van Buren emphasized the commitment to keeping tourist numbers under 20 million a year, recognizing overtourism as a global issue. However, she underscored that merely restricting access to Amsterdam is not a viable solution.

April 19, 2024 3:45 p.m. 9258

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