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UK tourists to Netherlands down 22% after Amsterdam campaign urging Brits to stay away

UK tourists to Netherlands down 22% after Amsterdam campaign urging Brits to stay away

Visitors to the Netherlands from Britain have dropped this year, months after a campaign to discourage disruptive tourists from travelling to Amsterdam went live.

The number of arrivals from the UK is down 22 per cent compared to 2019, the last year of unrestricted travel before the coronavirus pandemic.

Since March 2023, travellers attracted to the Dutch capital’s permissive culture, which includes its red-light district and cannabis cafes, have been encouraged to go elsewhere.

The online campaign is triggered when people in Britain enter keywords into search engines, such as “stag party Amsterdam”, “pub crawl Amsterdam” and “cheap hotel Amsterdam”.

Warning videos pop up, featuring young men staggering in the street, being handcuffed and fingerprinted and having their mugshots taken, and describing the risks and consequences of excessive drug and alcohol consumption: fines, hospitalisation, a criminal record and permanent health damage.

Amsterdam remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, with around 20 million visitors each year. In 2019, 2.4 million of these were British.

Beverley Boden, head of the department for aviation, tourism, finance and marketing at Teesside University International Business School, told The Independent: “The Dutch government has taken a unique approach to managing the swarms of people big European cities experience, and may seem contradictory, especially at a time when tourist bodies are battling to raise the number of visitors coming in.

“The Dutch approach shows it is possible to prevent rowdy tourists from coming over, and may serve as an effective blueprint for other countries looking to do the same. However, tourism is often a fundamental industry to a country’s economy, such as Spain, and any dip in visitor numbers can have a traumatic effect on an intricate and interdependent network of operators, hotels, vendors, attractions, and restaurants.

“Obviously, people are still free to fly to Amsterdam to enjoy the city as they please. This might invite a calmer kind of tourist as opposed to the so-called ‘louts’ that cause inner-city mayhem. The Dutch way certainly shows others that it is possible to shift the demographic of who arrives into the country which may, in the end, be better for other kinds of tourists.”

New data, studied by travel industry trends…

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