With more tourists arriving, government must draw up tourism strategy, MPs say

A marijuana seed shop at the back of Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk. Photo: DutchNews.nl
A marijuana seed shop at the back of Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Kerk. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The state must get more involved in tackling the problems caused by tourism, MPs from across the political spectrum have told broadcaster NOS.

Last month a government think-tank said the government must invest in ensuring the Netherlands remains a pleasant place to live as tourism continues to grow.

The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure said ministers must immediately pump money into dealing with the negative impact of tourism because the country is now at a ‘crossroads’.

While tourism generates twice as much money as agriculture for the treasury, just a handful of civil servants are busy with policy, the council pointed out.

‘There are places in the Netherlands which draw a lot of tourists and there are places which would like more,’ Socialist MP Frank Futselaar said. ‘But there is no central strategy.’

The Christian Democrats, the ruling liberal parties VVD and D66 and the Labour party all say there is not enough attention paid to tourism at a national level.

The Dutch tourism and convention board NBTC, which promotes the Netherlands as a tourist destination, is currently funded by the state and the private sector.

This, according to NOS, makes it difficult for the government to intervene in strategy.

However, junior economic affairs minister Mona Keijzer told the NOS that she is planning to change the rules so that the NBTC is less financially dependent on private sector wishes.

Last year, 19 million tourists from abroad came to the Netherlands and the total is forecast to reach 28 million in 10 years time.

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