Amsterdam Bans New Hotels To Combat Overtourism

Amsterdam Bans New Hotels To Combat Overtourism

A new law in Amsterdam is banning the establishment of new hotels, following crackdowns on short term rentals in some of the world’s most overcrowded cities for tourism. The new law imposed by the city’s government prevents the construction of any new hotels, unless a currently operating accommodation closes its doors. Any new hotels built in place of a closed one must now also meet certain modern standards of sustainability. And developers have also been encouraged to choose locations outside of the city. 

The new law will also restrict the number of tourists who can stay overnight in a year to 20 million stays in total for all visiting tourists in all accommodations across the city. This number comes from a popular city-wide initiative called “Amsterdam has a choice.” Around 30,000 Amsterdam residents called for more limitations on tourist activity in recent years, according to reports from the Amsterdam’s local authority.

In 2023, the number of hotel stays amounted to 20,665,000, excluding holiday rentals, bed and breakfasts, and cruise ships.

This is just Amsterdam’s most recent effort to slow the effects of overtourism in recent years, and is only a drop in the bucket of the major effects overtourism is wreaking on some of the most historical and culturally rich cities in the world. 

Other famous cities affected by overtourism include, New York, Paris, Rome, Mexico City, and parts of Greece and Hawaii. Not only has overtourism affected daily life for city residents in these locations, but it has also irreversibly damaged historical sites around the world. 

As a result, many of these hotspots have begun to put in place new rules to limit short term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo in the city. And many could continue to limit accommodations by following Amsterdam’s lead in stopping tourism development. 

Short term rental companies like Airbnb, have seen close scrutiny in past years as the quickly multiplying number of rentals has pushed up housing costs across already-expensive cities. 

Also in their statement the Amsterdam local authority writes: “We want to make and keep the city livable for residents and visitors. This means: no overtourism, no new hotels, and no more than 20 million hotel nights by tourists per year.”

A visit to Amsterdam during the high season for travel will quickly reveal that the city is jam packed with tourists, making it difficult for residents to enjoy the city, navigate traffic, eat out at restaurants, or even walk down streets. 

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