The Dutch tourist board is to stop actively promoting the Netherlands as a tourist destination because of concerns that its cities and attractions are becoming overcrowded.
The country’s tourist numbers are anticipated to grow from 19 million now to 29 million over the next decade – and the country’s authorities do not necessarily see that as an entirely good thing.
“To control visitor flow and leverage the opportunities that tourism brings with it, we must act now,” the country’s tourist board said in a strategy document laying out its plan for the coming decade.
“Instead of destination promotion, it is now time for destination management.”
The tourist board also hopes to spread tourists out to less visited parts of the Netherlands, amid concerns that hordes of visitors are ruining the very attractions they are coming to see.
The negative impact of mass tourism is in particular a major issue in Amsterdam, which has boomed significantly as a holiday destination in the last decade. Housing costs, public disorder and the character of neighbourhoods are all seen as concerns there.
The number of tourists visiting the country’s largest city has soared from 11 million in 2005 to 18 million in 2016. The city raised its tourist tax last year in a bid to control numbers and pay for the costs and externalities it creates. A further increase is planned this year.
But even outside Amsterdam, tourism has brought with it many woes. The famous Keukenholf bulb garden and Kinderdijk windmill districts have become all but inaccessible during peak tourism season due to strains on local infrastructure created by visitors.
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