Amsterdam boasts of a UNESCO protected canal ring.(AFP)
AMSTERDAM – 15 September 2017: Amsterdam wants to attract tourists who spend more money and stay for some time, dine out and visit museums. To do so, it is planning a tourist tax hike.
In an effort to attract big spenders and curb “falafel-eating” tourists, who spend most of their holiday loitering around the red-light district, Amsterdam’s city officials are considering a tourist tax hike that could make visits to the Dutch capital more expensive.
Currently, visitors pay 5% of their room rate in the city centre, which is expected to rise to 6% next year. But if Alderman Udo Kock has his way, that could rise to as much as €10 per night in 2019, according to local newspaper Het Parool. Because while the number of tourists has swelled from 12 million to 17 million over the last few years, a good portion of those visitors stayed in budget hotels and poured little into the local economy.
Last week, fed-up locals took to the streets protesting unchecked development and gentrification in their neighbourhoods. Similar ‘anti-tourism’ protests have been taking place in cities across Spain and Italy this summer amongst disgruntled locals, unhappy with the behaviour of disrespectful visitors and unsustainable tourist numbers.
Officials estimate that the new tourist hike could bring in €150 million to Amsterdam’s city coffers. In an interview with Parool, Kock said they prefer tourists who spend more than one night, visit museums and dine out at proper restaurants over visitors making a quick city break, strolling the red-light district with a falafel in their hand.