Cruises, b&bs and foreign cars are next Amsterdam tourist target

A cruise ship heading for Amsterdam. Photo:

Amsterdam is looking into introducing more measures to keep tourist numbers in check, including further restrictions on bed & breakfasts and on cars with foreign number plates.

City officials decided in 2021 to try to maximise the number of overnight stays at 20 million and that total is likely to be exceeded this year. 

According to the latest prognoses, tourists will make at least 20.1 million overnight stays in 2023 and the total could be up to 23 million. In addition, between 24 million and 27.5 million day trippers will come to the Dutch capital. 

Top of the council list of possible new measures is a further reduction in the number of licences for b&bs, which are based in the host’s own home.

There are currently over 2,000 licenced b&bs in the Dutch capital. “Given the increasing shortage of housing… and to keep neighbourhoods liveable, the board considers that the maximum number of b&bs in some areas has already been reached,” tourism chief Sofyan Mbarki told councillors in his tourism update.

The city’s executive is also looking at limiting the number of large cruise ships and river cruise boats. Tour buses and cars with foreign number plates may also face restrictions and officials are also considering a focus on reducing the number of flights to Schiphol airport, Mbarki said.

The impact of earlier measures, such as higher tourist taxes, the new ban on smoking marijuana in public in the red light district, and a “stay away” campaign for British tourists, have not yet been included in the tourism prognoses. 

This summer the city will also start a campaign to create a new image for Amsterdam which, Mbarki said, will “reflect the type of city Amsterdam wants to be for its visitors” with “quality, distinctive and diverse offerings spread throughout the city.”

Earlier this week, the Council of State ruled that Amsterdam’s ban on Airb&b rentals in some parts of the city should not have been implemented without trying less drastic measures first. 

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