Amsterdam: Expedia advise on what attractions to visit
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City mayor, Femke Halsema, proposed banning tourists from the cafes to reinvent Amsterdam’s image. However some cafe owners fear the ban would ruin business and drive tourists towards illegal drug dealers.
Amsterdam normally attracts around 20 million visitors per year, although the pandemic has greatly impacted tourism.
Many tourists visit one of the city’s large number of cannabis coffee shops, as they are one of the few places where the sale of small quantities of cannabis is legal.
Mayor Halsema thinks cracking down on cannabis tourism could help Amsterdam attract more wholesome travellers.
The Mayor has also shared plans to move sex workers from the red light district to a central building closer to the city outskirts.
Rowdy tourist actions have upset some residents who have to deal with their anti-social behaviour.
One resident told Deutsche Welle: “I was just chilling on my bed when I saw someone outside who just sat down and then he puked into the window.
“They have no respect. It’s a neighbourhood but they don’t see it as a neighbourhood where people live.”
However many of the city’s coffee shop owners fear the possible ban could destroy their business.
Eve Mcguire who works at Coffeeshop Reefer said: “If they were to ban the tourists, 80 percent of our customers would be gone.
“And not only this, but Dutch people don’t chill in coffee shops. If you’re Dutch you buy your weed and you go home.The people that chill in coffee shops are tourists.”
She doesn’t believe the ban will ever happen, saying: “It’s totally a lie, they will never ever let that come to pass.”
Gary Gallagher, the owner of the Amsterdam Cannabis Museum, said the amount of cash received by the attraction is only at half of pre-pandemic levels.
He said: “I think they can change the city but not the culture. Amsterdam will have this reputation forever.
“When they closed the coffee shops for the coronavirus pandemic, there were drug dealers on every street corner. So a few days later they reversed the move.”
Mcguire said that as so many EU citizens work in Amsterdam without needing residency, the ban could be difficult to enforce.
She said: “People have to show residency, but you don’t need residency to work here if you’re within the European Union.”
Gallagher added that he thought an increased police presence would work better than a ban on tourists.
He said: “They could have more of a police presence in the red-light district. They were just turning a blind eye but now there’s a chance for them if they want to clamp down on it.
“If they want to cut down on the rowdy UK bachelor parties, we’re all in favour of that, but stopping people from spending money, especially now, I don’t think that’s very smart.”
Amsterdam attracts a variety of tourists with cultural attractions such as the Van Gogh museum as well as a vibrant nightlife scene.
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