Amsterdam has launched its first 2021 campaigns to encourage tourists to return – the right kind of tourists, that is.
In a briefing for councillors, head of economic affairs Victor Everhardt said that the city would be investing €100,000 in one campaign advertising such attractions as street art, Europe’s highest swing and fishing for plastic to clean up canals. Another €60,000 is being invested, he says, by businesses and cultural partners.
The campaigns are intended to encourage tourism that will contribute to city life and the economy, as coronavirus infections fall and the country moves further towards the ‘green’ zone.
‘Bars and restaurants, shops and cultural institutions in Amsterdam have been hard hit by the consequences of the coronavirus crisis,’ said Everhardt in the briefing. ‘Visitors are coming back to our city again and this campaign directs them to types of visits in order to contribute to the economic recovery of the city and the region.’
Alongside this is a campaign to ‘stimulate desired behaviour’, run by economic and tourism promotion body amsterdam&partners, to make it clear that Amsterdam is no longer a destination for no-strings-attached partying.
Geerte Udo, chief executive, said: ‘The campaign is aimed at visitors with an interest in culture in the broadest sense of the word. It is extremely important right now to support the sector and bring the city back to life by attracting visitors who bring something to the city themselves.’
According to Amsterdam’s economic affairs department, tourism tax represented €133.6m in income for the city in 2019 but this fell to €56.5m last year. Before the coronavirus pandemic, 10% of the city’s jobs were in tourism and the total economic value of the industry in Amsterdam was €18.6bn.
The message of stimulating respectful tourism, while increasing policing and on-the-spot fines for unwanted behaviour, has been welcomed by city councillors. ‘These are excellent rules in line with our vision: visitors are welcome, but not at any price,’ said councillor Dennis Boutkan of the PvdA Labour party. ‘This is why it’s good to have a set of measures to combat nuisance.
‘Above all, we want visitors who enjoy Amsterdam and come to our city consciously for culture or events, our rich history, museums and the relaxed nightlife,’ he said. ‘As well as those who go “on safari” in the undiscovered parts outside the centre like the Zuidoost, Noord and Nieuw West.’
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