Amsterdam is increasing its tourist tax from 2024, making it the city with the highest such visitor charge in Europe.
In a budget statement, the city authorities confirmed a tax rise on hotel stays from 7% to 12.5% in 2024. In real terms, this means a hotel costing 175 euros a night would now set a guest back by 191.80 euros – an additional 6.65 euros compared to current prices and taxes. Meanwhile the tax for cruise passengers will increase from €8 to €11.
Is it because of overcrowding?
The city of 900,000 residents received over 17 million tourists in 2022 and that number is projected to rocket to over 20 million in 2024. Moneytransfers recently released a study ranking Amsterdam as the world’s 17th most overcrowded tourist destination.
Plans are already in place or being discussed to moderate tourist activity in the city. But tourist behaviour and not just numbers are to blame for some of the problems that go hand-in-hand with being so popular. Partly as a result of liberal Dutch laws on marijuana and sex work, Amsterdam is often seen as a place where anything goes, something that experts say is also an issue in Italy, which has seen a spate of anti-social and destructive tourist faux-pas.
As a result of a perception of Amsterdam being over-run by partying, the city has run a “Stay Away” campaign this year, specifically aimed at large groups of young male British revellers. It has banned over-exuberant stag dos and pub crawls, as well as cannabis consumption in the city centre streets. Bars are closing earlier too.
No increase in residential taxes
With a number of priorities including changing the city’s image, sustainable growth, community investment, combatting discrimination, and basic services, the city plans to use the tourist tax revenue to invest while protecting its residents’ household budgets.
Without raising local resident taxes, Amsterdam claims it will still be able to give “extra support to solve local problems more quickly and to invest in green spaces and play spaces, and money will be made available to keep community centres and youth centres operating. In addition, more money will be allocated to waste collection and cleaning the city.”
Hester van Buren, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor for finance, said that Amsterdammers are already operating on tight budgets in the face of inflationary forces.
“Visitors will thus help to pay for the city to carry out its tasks,” she said. “This allows us to address the consequences of overtourism and direct additional resources to keep the streets clean and solve acute problems in neighborhoods and districts.”