The economic benefits of tourism in Amsterdam have been exaggerated and its financial impact under-estimated, according to research by investigative journalism platform Investico and magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.
Much of the profit earned from tourism goes to a few large firms, many of which are foreign, and city council figures don’t take the full cost of dealing with tourists into account, the researchers say.
For example, the city claims 17 million people visit Amsterdam every year and spend €9.7bn. However, half the visitors are Dutch and the total also includes people from Amstelveen going out for a meal or visiting friends, the researchers said.
Estimates about the number of jobs created by tourism also vary widely, from 154,000 according to Amsterdam Marketing to 61,000 according to the city’s statistics office O&S. Many of these jobs are part-time jobs in cafes, cultural attractions and transport – all of which are also used by Amsterdammers, the researchers point out.
The city council has introduced a ban on building new hotels in the city centre but 22 more are in the pipeline, and 100 will be opened across the city in total.
Taking the cost of marketing the city, policing tourists, subsidising museums and the impact on liveability into account, the researchers estimate tourism costs the city €71m a year, which is well above the €64m raised in tourism taxes.
The city’s economic affairs alderman Kasja Ollongren told broadcaster NOS the problems caused by tourism in the city centre are now being addressed.
Tourist taxes are being increased, the city is clamping down on illegal accommodation providers and efforts are being made to spread tourists throughout the city, she said.
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