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12 Sep 2017

BY Tom Parry

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Amsterdam eyes tourist tax increase

Amsterdam council officials are considering plans to raise the city’s tourist tax.

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Council officials are considering ways to limit low-spending tourists

The proposals could reportedly see tariffs on hotel stays increase by up to €10 a night, as authorities attempt to funnel more money from tourism into the local economy.

 

About 17 million people visited the Dutch city in 2016, according to the Guardian - up from 12 million five years earlier.

 

More than a quarter of visitors stayed in budget hotels, the local council says, bringing limited investment to publicly owned businesses and helping to encourage a trend towards the city centre being dominated by cheap tourist accommodation.

 

Currently tourists pay 5% of the cost of their room in the city centre, with that rate due to increase to 6% in 2018.

 

Alderman for finance, Udo Kock told Dutch newspaper Het Parool he is looking at a new formula to limit low-spending tourists in favour of higher spenders.

 

“We need more people who actually spend money in the city,” he is quoted as saying.

 

“We would prefer people who stay a couple of nights, visit museums, have lavish meals at restaurants, to people who pop over for a weekend eating falafel while sauntering around the red-light district.”

 

The council is reportedly considering introducing a split-fee system – with visitors paying a fixed amount per night – up to €10 plus a percentage of the hotel bill.

 

A potential tax rise could also work to allay recent fears from local residents of "overtourism", Kock believes.

 

He added: “The number of visitors will grow from 17 million to 23 million in the coming years and that means more cleaning and a greater police presence in the streets. And I want Amsterdammers to profit from the success of the city.”

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