Will Amsterdam finally be able to rid itself of drunken English tourists?

The city of Amsterdam has stepped up dissuasive measures to limit the number of tourists. (here, in 2020.) RAMON VAN FLYMEN/AFP

In March, the capital launched a campaign to discourage tourists from partying in the streets. Since then, the number of British visitors has fallen dramatically.

The anti-tourist policy ofAmsterdam Could it be bearing fruit? In March, the capital of The Netherlands declared loud and clear: she wanted to end excessive overtourism. So no more “piss tricks”, these organized tours for stag parties and these drunk tourists urinating in the street, fighting or vomiting in the canals. With its campaign called “Stay Away”, she wanted to discourage tourists from going to Amsterdam to party, consume alcohol or drugs. An operation that initially targeted British men aged between 18 and 35, known for causing a nuisance in the city centre, particularly in the Red Light District.

Several months later, the campaign begins to bear fruit. The number of British visitors has fallen significantly compared to 2019. Arrivals from the UK have declined by 22% in 4 years, according to the latest figures presented by ForwardKeys, a specialist travel analytics company, at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) . forum. It must be said that the campaign launched by Amsterdam aims to be very dissuasive. When Brits type certain keywords into search engines – such as “stag party in Amsterdam”, “pub crawl in Amsterdam” or “cheap hotel in Amsterdam” – alert videos appear. They depict young men staggering in the street, handcuffed and arrested. They also describe the risks of excessive alcohol and drug consumption.

Multiplication of dissuasive measures

By launching this campaign, Amsterdam attacked a major tourist supplier. In 2019, of the city’s approximately 20 million visitors, 2.4 million were British. And they are not the only ones targeted by the Dutch capital. More generally, deterrence measures have increased since the Covid crisis. Increase in tourist taximplementation of strict regulations on seasonal rentals, ban on smoking cannabis in the Red Light District, ban on cruise ships in the city center, hunting for coffee shops… so many new rules that aim to improve the quality of life of residents. And what had an impact on the number of tourists.

According to the latest figures revealed by ForwardKeys, foreign tourist arrivals decreased by 26% compared to 2019. A drop that can also be explained by the policy implemented for Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, one of the main European hubs. In 2022, the Dutch government announced its intention to limit the number of flights in order to reduce noise and greenhouse gas pollution. A limitation that is expected to take on a new dimension in 2024: flights will be limited to 452,500 per year, or 9.5% below 2019 levels.

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