Amsterdam will have the highest tourist tax in Europe when a new hike takes place next year, the city’s finance chief Hester van Buren told Dutch News on Thursday.
The city is planning to put up the tax on overnight stays to 12.5% of the cost of the hotel room, while cruise ship passengers will pay €11 per person rather than €8.
In total, the changes mean tourists will pay an average of €22 a night in tax rather than €15 on a room costing €175, Van Buren said. “This is the fourth highest in the world.”
The city’s administration had been planning a lower increase but opted put up the rate following council pressure. In total, the city expects to raise €65 million from tourist taxes next year.
The aim, said Van Buren, is to pay for services for locals, not necessarily discourage people from visiting the city.
“It is a balancing act, and an estimate,” Van Buren said. “Of course it would be good if the high tax helped against over-tourism, but then you would also bring in less money.”
Van Buren said she had been talking to other cities grappling to deal with the number of tourists, such as Venice and Barcelona.
“We also have to deal with day trippers,” she said. “Of course, you can’t put up turnstiles so no-one can get into the city, but we are going to look at ways of making day visitors pay some sort of city tax.”
Amsterdam expects more than 20 million visitors this year, many of whom are only in town for the day.
The Dutch capital has been struggling to cope with the growing number of tourists, especially budget visitors who cause problems and hang around the red light district.