Netherlands Tries to Control Tourism Boom – The Guardian

Strategy may involve tourist tax and closing down attractions in crowded regions

The tulips are being trampled, the people of Amsterdam squeezed out of their canal-side homes and the Netherlands’ most picturesque villages, famous for their windmills, swamped.

Now, with as many as 42 million people forecast to visit the country annually by 2030, up from 18 million in 2018, the Netherlands tourist board has had enough.

In a major shift, the board is moving its focus from promoting the country as a tourist destination to trying to manage the huge numbers coming in by plane, train and automobile.

A country of 17 million people can have too much of a good thing, it is suggested.

“We say that ‘more’ is not always better, certainly not everywhere,” a tourist board policy document states. “To be able to control visitor flows, we must take action now. Instead of destination promotion it’s time for destination management.”

Such is the nuisance factor of some tourists in parts of the Netherlands that the tourist board is even encouraging regions to take up a policy of “develop and discourage”.

Amsterdammers v tourists: ‘It’s worst when they throw up in your plant box’ Read moreA document laying out the strategy suggests this might require actively dissuading people from visiting certain areas through means such as closing down disreputable attractions to imposing a tourist tax. The standard of life of some of the country’s residents is said to be coming under pressure.

“Tourism is not a goal, in this perspective,” a spokeswoman for the tourist board said of the strategy, which was devised at the end of last year but has hit the headlines in Holland due to recent budget negotiations with the Dutch government.

“Some cities and regions are very busy – cities such as Amsterdam or areas such as Giethoorn, a small village with a lot of windmills and farmers – and there are a lot of Chinese tourists that are very interested in that village,” the spokeswoman said. 

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