HomeTravelAmsterdam accused of ‘lazy stereotyping’ in latest campaign against British visitors

Amsterdam accused of ‘lazy stereotyping’ in latest campaign against British visitors


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Booth adds: “No one planning on coming to the city for a stag do will care that such activities are ‘forbidden’, much less will spend time doing an online quiz to find that out. Surely, there are better ways to dissuade problem visitors than this?”

Catherine Marie, an expert on tourism brand strategy at The Plot Thickens, points out that the majority of the target group (those aged 18 to 27) are Gen Z, who are very different to millennials in terms of their expectations and spending habits. 

“The British booze culture that I grew up with from the 2000s to the 2010s has faded a little, as has the ‘Brits abroad’ label – it still exists, but not to the same extent,” Marie says.

“I think Amsterdam could have achieved a far stronger outcome by appealing to this generation with a host of other reasons to [see] the sights. Think about how cities like Berlin, Copenhagen, Split and Edinburgh have achieved this. Yes, Amsterdam has had a bigger challenge on its hands but I think there were other ways to approach this.”

Amsterdam is not alone in seeking a different type of tourist. Lanzarote last year announced a drive for higher-spending tourists, and Mallorca has introduced rules clamping down on rowdy tourist behaviour. Phil Bloomfield, a travel PR expert, says we can expect to see more campaigns of this ilk. “I believe this, and similar announcements of pivots towards ‘better’ visitors by places in Spain and Turkey, will become more commonplace in the coming years,” he says. 

“In terms of this particular campaign, my view is that it’s done with a degree of wit and humility on behalf of the destination. I think the tone acknowledges that the liberalism which made Amsterdam so popular in the first place has become an albatross around its neck, and they’re now holding up their hand and asking – not unreasonably – to move on from the past.

“How it lands with particular visitor cohorts is another matter – I can hear the frothing indignation already starting to bubble – but any destination should have the right to put its residents first.”

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