Day-trip tax, Airbnb ban suggested to stop Amsterdam overtourism

In order to prevent massive crowds of tourists returning to Amsterdam after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dutch capital’s visitor economy must be completely restructured in the coming years, according to Amsterdam & Partners, the former city marketing agency. The agency suggests implementing a tax on day trippers, a discount pass for residents, and a total ban on holiday rentals like Airbnb, Het Parool reports.

Amsterdam & Partners spoke with residents, entrepreneurs and the cultural sector to come up with its plans to make sure more people benefit from tourism in the city, and that tourists cause less inconvenience for locals, by 2025. “Because of corona, we as Amsterdammers experience first-hand what we miss because of the visitors’ absence, but also how nice it is to be a customer, guest or visitor in our own city,” director Geerte Udo said to Het Parool.

Currently, most of the tourist tax in Amsterdam is paid by hotel guests staying overnight in the city. Tour guides and companies also pay a small tourist tax, but otherwise people who visit only for the day are not taxed. Amsterdam & Partners wants to change that. “On average, half of the tourists are day visitors. We don’t think it’s okay that the pressure is now almost entirely on the hotels and shipping companies,” Udo said. “This does not mean that you have to levy a toll on everyone who comes from outside, but our advice is to investigate whether a city tax can have a guiding or discouraging effect.”

Money raised with this tax can help make sure residents benefit more from the wealth tourism brings to the city. This can be done through a residents’ pass, which can be used to get discounts and extras at museums and shops. “Seduce residents to make more use of the city and enjoy the enormous offer, in this way entrepreneurs and the culture also become less dependent on visitors.”

Amsterdam & Partners also wants to redesign the Red Light District, to discourage a massive influx of visitors only coming to Amsterdam for this offer. And an outright ban on renting residential homes to tourists as soon as possible. “Residents and entrepreneurs agree on that,” Udo said to the newspaper.