It’s the sort of problem most countries can only dream of, but the Dutch tourist board is stopping actively promoting the Netherlands as a tourist destination because its attracting too many tourists.
The small country of only 17 million inhabitants already attracts 19 million tourists a year, with that figure expected to grow by another 10 million over the next decade.
“To control visitor flow and leverage the opportunities that tourism brings with it, we must act now,” the country’s tourist board stated. “Instead of destination promotion, it is now time for destination management.”
Amsterdam is taking the brunt of the tourism impact, with 18 million tourists visiting in 2018. That’s 18 tourists to one local. Tourism earns the Dutch economy €82 billion and employs one in every 13 locals. But the influx is causing all sorts of problems from housing costs, thanks to Airbnb, through to a loss of local cultural identity.
The city is mulling over raising its tourist tax again to fund the cost of welcoming so many visitors. Even outside the main city, the Keukenholf bulb garden and Kinderdijk windmill districts have been inundated with tulip lovers and Instagrammers alike.
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.”