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Overtourism effects: Amsterdam bans construction of new hotels and slashes river cruise stays

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In a bid to curb overcrowding, Amsterdam has decided to put a ban on the construction of new hotels. The capital of The Netherlands is also planning to slash river cruise stays to battle overtourism.

The city’s council took to X and posted the following:


“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.”

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As per reports, a new hotel can only be constructed if another hotel shuts down. As per a statement from the city council, any new establishment aiming to maintain the same total sleeping accommodations but enhance existing standards, like sustainability, will be permitted for construction. However, this regulation does not apply to hotels that have already been granted construction permits.

Amsterdam has been actively implementing strategies to mitigate the influx of tourists, which reaches millions annually, particularly by discouraging sex and drug-related tourism in its red-light district.

Overtourism effects: Amsterdam bans construction of new hotels and slashes river cruise stays

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

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On the other hand, Amsterdam is also contemplating to significantly reduce the number of river boat cruises as a part of a comprehensive strategy to combat over-tourism. The move is just one of “a hundred” measures being implemented to address the issue.

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Last year, approximately 2300 cruise ships docked along the city’s waterfront. However, by 2028, Amsterdam aims to slash this number in half to 1,150, which would result in a reduction of 271,000 tourists annually. Nevertheless, this reduction is expected 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. According to city finance chief Hester van Buren, “We have a commitment to keep tourist numbers under 20 million a year.”

Overtourism effects: Amsterdam bans construction of new hotels and slashes river cruise stays

City finance chief Van Buren emphasized, “Over-tourism is a global issue, and tourists themselves are also deterred when destinations become overcrowded. However, we recognize that simply cordoning off Amsterdam is not a viable solution.”

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