[Photo Credit: Claudia Larusso]

Amsterdam overtourism petition garners over 23,000 signatures

The Netherlands: A petition which seeks a sweeping set of overtourism protections has now been signed by well over 23,000 people.

The petition suggests a limit to visitor numbers, a ban on new hotels, and an increase on tourism tax amongst many other potential reforms.

As soon as it hits 27,000 signatures, the petition will automatically trigger a city council referendum on the measures. The petition’s primary demand is a decisive limitation on future tourism numbers, keeping people at 12 million overnight stays a year which represents a return to “manageable” 2014 levels.

The petition states: “Due to the corona pandemic, tourism in Amsterdam has come to a standstill: from an average of approximately 55,000 visitors per day to (almost) zero. This is a huge noose for all entrepreneurs who focus on tourists. But it also offers a welcome break to all residents who felt increasingly alienated from their city.”

The petition advocates that COVID-19 has created an opportunity for the city to reassert its status as a place for locals.

The city attracted 16 million visitors in 2018, significant for a city of just 870,000 residents. The city already had added some of the highest tourist taxes in Europe to combat overtourism, with a €3 per person, per night charge on overnight stays.

Notably, the measure suggests a total or partial ban on holiday rentals as a way to cut down on additional visitors. As of April, the city has prohibited operating a holiday rental in city centre neighbourhoods and had pledged to introduce permits for rentals in other parts of the city from July 1.

Plans are also in the work to impose fully sustainable tourism infrastructure for the city’s future. These include creating environmentally friendly mobility solutions, establishing an effective waste-management plan, and establishing a crowd management system to control busy places.

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