Tourists checking out a street in Amsterdam, Source: Municipality of Amsterdam

Stay Away: Amsterdam’s message to rowdy would-be tourists

Stay Away: Amsterdam’s message to rowdy would-be tourists

The city is keen to reshape its image to something classier and less libertine

The Amsterdam tourism authorities have initiated an online campaign to discourage certain tourists from visiting the city. Yes, you read that right, the aim here is to turn potential visitors away rather than attract them, which is normally the job of tourism offices.

The reason behind this move is the general fatigue on part of many local residents with the city’s image as a party destination, which attracts noisy young tourists seeking to let loose. That in turn leads to the proliferation of social ills, such as drug trade and petty crime. That is why, the authorities have a simple message for people planning to visit with such intentions in mind – Stay Away!

That is, in fact, the name of the discouragement campaign, which is accompanied by short videos showing the possible shameful and risky consequences of a wild night out in Amsterdam. One video shows a young man being taken by ambulance to a hospital with the implication that he’d overdosed on drugs and another one is shown as being arrested by the police and then having to spend the following day in jail.

Amsterdam gets more virtuous

"Visitors remain welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause a nuisance. Then we as a city say: rather not, stay away," said Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki of Economic Affairs and Action Inner City, adding: “But to keep our city livable, we now opt for limitations instead of irresponsible growth."

Apparently, the problematic tourists have a certain profile. These are usually young men, aged between 18 and 35, many of whom are from the United Kingdom. In fact, that group will be the first target audience of the online campaign, although later it will expand to other countries as well.

For example, if these men search for “stag party Amsterdam”, “cheap hotel Amsterdam” and “pub crawl Amsterdam”, they will see warning ads. The advertisements show the risks and consequences of nuisance and excessive alcohol and drug use.

The campaign will be assessed and possibly further developed in the coming months.

In December 2022, the city council adopted the Visitor Economy 2035 Vision and a package of measures to combat excessive tourism and nuisance. A number of these will take effect this spring after discussions in the city council, such as stricter closing times, a smoking ban and limited alcohol sales in certain areas. The city council is also talking to providers of bachelor parties in the city centre.



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