How easy it is to blame the euro for everything. The number of American tourists visiting Amsterdam has remained unchanged in the first six months of this year after years of steady increases and the tourist board is blaming the pesky little euro for being too strong.
And the tourists who do come are spending less money, particularly on museum visits, the tourist boards say. Now there is a surprise. Have any of them tried to actually visit a museum in Amsterdam lately?
If you can actually get to a museum despite all the roadworks and big holes in the ground for the new metro, there is a rather obvious reason that spending on museums is down. Tourists are not visiting them because several of the biggest draws are closed for rebuilding.
The Rijksmuseum is reduced to one small wing; the Stedelijk modern art museum is temporarily housed in a dilapidated building by central station; even the Maritime Museum is closed for renovations.
It would be a miracle if spending on museums actually went up while all this was going on. It is hard to sell culture when lots of it is closed.
Doubtless the city’s tourist board has taken all this into account and is planning to spend a lot of euros of its own on a major publicity campaign to coincide with the reopening of all its top attractions in 2010.
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