Published on : Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Amsterdam, one of the busiest capital cities of Netherlands is planning to increase the city taxes on the tourists by as much as €10 a night, which is considered as the attempt to limit weekend visitors and the red light district tourism reclaim the city for residents.
It is shown that there about 17 million people visited the city of 850,000 residents in 2016, which was up from 12 million five years earlier, and the trend of visiting is expected to increase.
More than a quarter of visitors stayed in budget hotels, the local tourism council says, in bringing limited cash into the municipal coffers but helping to encourage a trend towards the city centre being dominated by tourist accommodation.
Last week, the protesters carrying banners and megaphones took to the city’s streets chanting, “Amsterdam, not for sale!” and “Whose city? Our city!”, in the latest show of frustration among residents at the changing face of their town. Like Spain or Barcelona, Amesterdam is also suffering from the overflow of the tourists.
Following a number of measures in recent years to respond to residents’ concerns, including a suspension on hotel developments and a campaign to encourage tourists to go beyond the city center, a radical tax plan is now in the making.
The tourists pay 5% of the cost of their room in the city centre, with that rate due to increase to 6% in 2018.
Amsterdam’s city councillor is responsible for finance. Udo Kock has said that he is looking at a new method to clutch out low-spending tourists and in favour of the heavier spenders.
The city also would prefer people who stay a couple of nights, visit museums, have lavish meals at restaurants, to people who pop over for a weekend eating falafel while sauntering around the red-light district.
The city council is considering introducing a split-fee system, with visitors paying a fixed amount per night of as much as €10 plus a percentage of the hotel bill.
Such a tax would add significantly to the cost of a budget trip to the city.
Kock said that the number of visitors will grow from 17 million to 23 million in the coming years and that means more cleaning and a greater police presence in the streets of Amesterdam.
The residents have become increasingly loud in recent years, complaining they are being forced out by spiraling house prices and an influx of tourists.
The local politicians have claimed the city is at risk of becoming “the Venice of the North”.
This year, the Chief Executive of Amsterdam Marketing, Frans Van der Avert, has claimed that the European cities are dying from tourism and that people would no longer live in the historic centres.
The mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, received a letter from local companies and residents urging him to stop the city’s “Disneyfication”.
Rick Aalders, 28, the manager at Hotel Aalders on the edge of the city centre, said he did not believe the tax plan would change the city for the better.