HomeTravelAmid Overtourism Amsterdam Reduces River Cruises

Amid Overtourism Amsterdam Reduces River Cruises


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by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 3:30 PM ET, Thu April 18, 2024

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the global shutdown of the tourism industry just a few years behind us in the rear view mirror, overtourism is becoming a challenging issue around the world once again.

In the latest development, leaders in Amsterdam have announced plans to cut the number of river boat cruises that enter the city. The move has been described as one of “a hundred” such measures leaders in the Dutch city are implementing to tackle the overtourism problem, according to Dutch News.

About 2,300 cruise ships docked in Amsterdam in 2023. By four years from now, Amsterdam wants to see that figure reduced to just 1150. If that goal is accomplished, it would reduce the number of tourists in the city by about 271,000, Dutch News reported.

While the reduced number of tourists would help ease overtourism, it will also be a blow to the area’s economy. Under the plan, the regional economy stands to lose about $78 million a year.

The overtourism created by cruise visitors reached a particular frenzy during the country’s spring bulb season when 1,000 river boats dock in the capital, says Amsterdam finance chief Hester van Buren. “We have a commitment to keep tourist numbers under 20 million a year.”

“I am not saying this is going to solve the problem of too many tourists,” Van Buren added. His comments came during a presentation Wednesday that was focused on the city’s plans to reduce river boats. “This is one of a string of measures to reduce the number of tourists in total. It is about the overcrowding and the coaches parked all over the pavements.”

The changes also stand to have a significant impact on Amsterdam’s hotel industry. Research gathered by the city’s leaders show the reduced number of riverboats will also mean about 200,000 fewer nights being spent by travelers in local hotels.

Hotel owners meanwhile, have said they will look for other sources of travelers to fill those empty rooms.

“We don’t take bus tours in general, but we do a lot with river cruises,” Remco Groenhuijzen, the general manager of the city centre Movenpick hotel told Dutch News “But we will need to fill the empty rooms. This policy has symbolic value only. It does not solve anything.”

Amsterdam also recently kicked off the second part of its “stay away” campaign.  It is yet another program aimed at reducing the number of visitors arriving in the city, specifically budget tourists who come to indulge in the city’s marijuana culture.

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