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Amsterdam to Reduce River Cruises Due To Overtourism

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam to reduce river cruises due to overtourism [Image by djedj from Pixabay]
Amsterdam recently banned large cruise ships from its harbor in an effort to defeat overtourism. They have also released several new rules for travelers visiting the popular Netherlands city. However, now Amsterdam is taking more steps to fight overtourism, with the latest reducing the number of river cruises on the city’s picturesque canals.

Amsterdam to reduce river cruises due to overtourism

After the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, many popular destinations in the world are now fighting overtourism. Clearly, they do need the money generated by tourism, but too many visitors mean potential damage to popular cities. Some cities have begun charging a fee for entry, while places like Barcelona, Venice and Amsterdam are reducing the numbers of massive cruise ships from their ports, with their thousands of guests descending on the cities.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam, The Netherlands [Image by 1624923 from Pixabay]
One popular attraction in Amsterdam is to take a river cruise along the city’s famous canals, relaxing and gazing at the beautiful scenes that are passing by. However, officials in the city have announced plans to reduce the number of riverboat cruises that are allowed to enter the city. According to Dutch News, this is described as one of “a hundred” new measures to tackle overtourism and to protect Amsterdam.

How is the city affected by too many tourists?

Dutch News reports that around 2,300 cruise ships docked in the harbor in Amsterdam in 2023. However, the city plans to reduce that figure to just 1150 by four years from now. Should the goal be accomplished, this would reduce the number of visitors in the city by around 271,000.

Tourists in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Crowds of tourists [Image by Françoise Rondaij-Koch from Pixabay]
However, while the reduction in tourists would help to ease overtourism, it will also affect the city’s economy. Reportedly, under the new plan, the region stands to lose some $78 million a year. Meanwhile, the overtourism from cruise visitors has reached a true frenzy during the spring bulb season in the Netherlands. According to Amsterdam finance chief Hester van Buren, this has led to 1,000 riverboats docking in the capital. Van Buren said they are committed to keeping tourist numbers under 20 million a year, adding:

I am not saying this is going to solve the problem of too many tourists. This is one of a string of measures to reduce the number of tourists in total. It is about the overcrowding and the coaches parked all over the pavements.

These comments came during a presentation on Wednesday, focused on Amsterdam’s plans to reduce riverboats. However, these changes could have a significant impact on Amsterdam’s hotels. Research done by the city’s officials shows the reduced number of riverboats would also mean around 200,000 fewer nights spent by travelers in the local hotels.

Meanwhile, hotel owners say they will start looking for other sources of guests to fill the empty rooms. Remco Groenhuijzen, General Manager of the city center Movenpick Hotel told Dutch News:

We don’t take bus tours in general, but we do a lot with river cruises. But we will need to fill the empty rooms. This policy has symbolic value only. It does not solve anything.

Amsterdam’s ‘Stay Away’ campaign continues

Red Light District
Amsterdam launches ‘Stay Away’ ad campaign [Image by Robert Pastryk from Pixabay]
A while back, it was reported that Amsterdam had launched the “Stay Away” campaign to discourage drunken British youths from misbehaving in the city. More recently, the city has launched the second part of the campaign, aimed at reducing the number of visitors in the city. This effort is specifically aimed at budget tourists visiting Amsterdam to enjoy its marijuana culture.


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