Amsterdam limits mass tourism


The new City Council of Amsterdam announced new measures to limit mass tourism, among others an order to the cruise ships to dock in areas far away from the city.

According to information in the Dutch media the actions to relieve the intense flow of tourists in downtown areas of Amsterdam feature a complete ban of touring busses in the city center. The touring busses have to drop of and pick up their passengers at a station outside that area.

Another measure is that owners are only allowed to rent out their home via Airbnb for a maximum of 30 days per year. In some parts of the city, renting out homes via Airbnb and the likes will be banned completely.

It seems that these decisions are related to the fact that the largest Dutch city is sinking. Local experts say that the phenomenon is partly due to an influx of tourists and new city dwellers have brought more noise, brawls and overcrowding to the city.

Determined to save their historic city from destruction by the hordes, local politicians have put a stop to new hotels in most parts of the city and recently limited the number of days people can rent out their homes on Airbnb.

A recent article in an Amsterdam magazine reported that concerned politicians are also trying to curb street music and ban so-called “beer bikes” — vehicles on wheels that can seat about 17 drinkers.

Amsterdam, a city of almost 850,000 inhabitants, had 17 million visitors in 2016, up from 12 million five years earlier. If the upward trend continues, the number of visitors could hit 30 million by 2025. The city population growth in 10,000 people every year.

Other European cities are having similar problems with the so called massive tourism. In Barcelona, the mayor declared war on that kind of tourism, launching an assault on short-term rental services such as Airbnb and slowing down the issuance of licenses for new hotels.

Venice, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is facing environmental disaster. Is threatened also by rising sea levels, and Mediterranean storms. Experts said that in the next hundred years the sea level of Venice’s lagoon is expected to rise by 20 inches (about 50 cm). Italia Nostra, an environmental organization says that Venice can handle about 30,000 tourists every day, far less than the 60,000 that come to the lagoon city now.

Although the excessive tourism in Venice every day is not guilty of such possible catastrophe the local government has taken measures to limit it in certain areas of the beautiful city to avoid discomfort to the inhabitants of the locality and damage to its surroundings.

Defenders in the world of sustainable tourism stress that is necessary to develop the idea of conscious travel and start to imagine a better alternative.

One of the changes they ask for is start to view the tourists not as mere units of consumption, but as guests seeking to be healed and transformed. According to those who think so the alternative to the problems of the mass tourism is about less volume, congestion, hassle, destruction and harm and about more meaning, purpose, value, peace and fulfillment.

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