Amsterdam to hike tourist tax and clamp down on beer bikes and Airbnb

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Amsterdam, party capital and stag do destination du jour, is calling time on its 24/7 party.

Following in the footsteps of other major tourist destinations, such as Barcelona and Venice, the city’s main political parties have announced measures to address the impact of mass tourism on the city in an effort to reverse the “Disneyfication” of the Dutch capital.

A coalition of four political parties, who are in negotiations to form the new city government, announced a series of agreed reforms to bring “balance” to the city.

The proposals will crack down on “fun rides” like beer bikes, Segways and boozy boat trips, divert cruise ships from docking in the city centre and ban Airbnb short-term rentals in the city’s busiest areas. The existing tourist tax is also set to rise from between 4 and 6 per cent to 7 per cent, an endeavour that is estimated to raise $105 million a year by 2022.

“We have to ensure that the city stays liveable for all residents,” Yvette Hofman, spokesperson for the green-Left party GroenLinks, told The Telegraph. “This is a subject that really matters to residents, who have felt under attack by increasing crowds, partly due to Airbnb and illegal hotels.

“They have complained that they no longer know their neighbours and of [a tourist] monoculture in the centre. This is about balance.”

The announcement comes a month after Eurostar announced a direct train service from London to Amsterdam, and follows a similar approach to those adopted by cities such as Venice, which has introduced permits and installed turnstiles, and Barcelona, which has banned hotels from opening last year.

Tourism was an integral part of the recent city elections in Amsterdam, where tourist rental apartments have been criticised for exacerbating the severe housing shortage. 

The city continues to be one of Airbnb’s most popular destinations and has seen a huge rise in tourist numbers, with 18 million people expected to visit this year, according to the research bureau SEO.

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