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Amsterdam Considers Banning Tourists From Cannabis Cafes

By Parker Diakite

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Amsterdam has been working hard over the past few years to crack down on the number of visitors to the city.

From banning vacation rentals, moving the popular “I AMSTERDAM” letters to its latest proposal of banning tourists from its popular cannabis coffee shops.

RELATED: Amsterdam Considering Home Rental Ban To Combat Overtourism

It’s a move city officials are considering “to help balance the quality of life for local residents with the demands of visitors.”

A recent survey of young tourists, commissioned by Mayor Femke Halsema, examined the most popular reasons for visiting Amsterdam and sought to investigate “what would happen to the willingness of tourists to visit Amsterdam if either the availability or accessibility of one or more of these factors should reduce or disappear,” as reported in CNN.

The survey questioned 1,100 international visitors between the ages of 18 and 35 who were visiting Amsterdam’s Red Light District back in August 2019. 

According to the study, 57% of travelers said they chose to visit Amsterdam because they want to experience marijuana cafes. Yet, 34% indicated they’d come to Amsterdam less often if they weren’t able to visit coffee shops, and 11% said they wouldn’t come at all.

How City Officials Are Combatting Overtourism In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is home to more than 1 million people, yet the city attracts more than 17 million visitors a year. 

Starting April 1, 2020, a new measure will go into effect that limits group tours in the Red Light District.  The measure prevents tour groups from passing the red light windows after 10 pm.

Any guide found breaking the rules could face fines of $205.

In that same survey,  the mayor asked visitors if they would be willing to pay an entry fee to visit the Wallen/Singel areas – an area of that city where the Red Light District is located. More than 30% of respondents said they would stop coming and at least 44% said they would visit less often.

“It is understandable that Amsterdam residents want to preserve their beautiful historic center, and also go about their daily lives without constantly being confronted by rowdy tourists,” Journalist Isabelle Gerretsen, who grew up in Amsterdam, told CNN Travel.

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