If the City Government not will taking basic steps to control the flow of tourists, Amsterdam will become a theme park. The city threatens to disneyfy.
Is it too busy in Amsterdam? There are times and places where it is too busy in town, but that’s not always like that. Nevertheless, there will be a huge clash between residents and tourists if we continue like this. After all, we live in a tiny town and the part where most tourists come is still much smaller.
The balance between living, working and recreation is special in Amsterdam. If that gets out of balance, the city will brake down. Then you get here a disneyfication and Amsterdam will become an amusement park.
Is it even busier?
‘Yes, the hustle and bustle will increase much more. International tourism to Amsterdam last yea is grown 12% and the prediction is that the number of foreign tourists in Amsterdam will double over the next ten to fifteen years. This is because there is a huge global strongly growing middle class for whom travel is now possible. In China, for example, the middle class had grown to some 400 million people. A few decades ago an ordinary Chinese could not travel. Communism brought all kinds of travel restrictions, and in addition, many Chinese had no money for it. Only business people went abroad.
Now that’s different. The restrictions are no longer there and the Chinese have more to spend. And because the travel participation in China is still relatively small, it is good for your status to go to Europe. Then you come back with a story that is impressive. That is why that there are six hotels build in and around the city specially for Chinese people.
What should be done to prevent disneyfication?
Amsterdam now has the chance to controlle tourism as a guide city. There is world-wide still little knowledge in this area.
In each case, there is not one solution. Alderman Kajsa Ollongren wants tourists spread. That is not enough. The problem is that successful places are full in no time. As the centres in West. That’s on Saturday a complete madhouse. And there are mainly people of Amsterdam and other Dutch. Maybe two percent of foreign tourists are the visitors on Saturday. It takes a while before also with tourists places like that becomes known.
Another problem with the spreading of tourists is that most tourists remain at most two nights in Amsterdam. Then they want to the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and a coffee shop. ‘
A place that is promising to increase the size of the Centre, is the Northern Waterfront. That is visible from the city centre and is becoming increasingly attractive. Now there is created Eye and the tolhuistuin. Soon there a large Convention hotel, the Disney attraction Flying about Holland and the A’dam Tower. However, accessibility is a problem. Also a bridge.
Are there too many hotels in the city?
‘The growth of the number of hotels and of airbnb in Amsterdam should be better controlled. The number of hotels is now growing much too hard with 12% in 2015. This year there will be 3100 hotel rooms. That is too much. Ultimately more hotel rooms means after all more tourists.
The municipality can introduce a room quota. Then new hotels come no longer in Amsterdam, but directly around it. For this, you have to make proper arrangements with the city region about the infrastructure, because in the end everyone wants yet to Dam square.
Also regarding events you have to be more stringent. An international beach volleyball tournament you should not keep on Dam square, right in the city. The argument was that it was a beautiful picture. But a pretty picture we have really no longer necessary for the marketing of Amsterdam. Even if we stop all marketing, the tourists will come. ‘
Is Amsterdam Marketing obsolete?
No, but Amsterdam Marketing could be much more involved to maintain the balance between residents and visitors. In doing so, it helps you to focus on specific target groups. Also the lesser-known sights must brought more to the attention. The icons can also go breaking up the crowds. The number of visitors to icons like the Rijksmuseum will double. That is really not funny anymore and does affect the quality of the visit.
I would also give each visitor a nice card with a number of walking routes on it. If you have different versions of each card in a different way tourists will explore the city differently.