Amsterdam’s image as a tourist hot spot has taken a few knocks recently, with tales of rip-of merchants posing as taxi drivers, rude café staff and hoards of drunken Brits on every street corner.

So much so that the local chamber of commerce, the tourist office and the hotel and catering industry have set up a new organisation, De Amsterdamse Alliance, to try to improve things.
The Alliance is now patting itself on the back because the two ‘mystery guests’ it let loose to find out how tourist-friendly the capital is, came back with glowing reports.
The duo found that everyone was nice and willing to help them and a taxi driver even gave them a running commentary of the sites they were driving past. ‘If we were real tourists, we would have had three great days,’ one of the mystery guests told the Parool.
Sidelines should perhaps add here that the two fake holidaymakers were in fact two white blonde blue-eyed Dutch girls in their mid-20s, who spoke English with an odd accent (judging by the Parool’s account of their adventures).
So what the Alliance has actually learned in fact is that Dutch girls pretending to be tourists get treated well. But what if they had been an elderly Japanese couple, middle-aged Italians or a group of black American students? Perhaps next time, the mystery guests should be just a little more representative?

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