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After a year without rowdy tourists, European cities want to keep it that way

08/20/2021| 6:17:54 PM| 中文

For curated tourism to have a chance, a city’s hospitality sector must be on board.

Amsterdam was already scrambling to find ways to restrain the tourist trade before the coronavirus struck. Hefty fines for public drinking, tight restrictions on short-term rentals and outright bans on certain types of shops were implemented. But more visitors kept coming. By 2019, their numbers approached 9 million—more than 10 per resident.

Then it all stopped. For months, tourists where nowhere to be found as borders were sealed tight. Later, as infection waves receded, only a trickle returned. Overall, Amsterdam’s commercial establishments have seen almost 25% fewer visitors since Covid-19 first arrived.

Even in the red light district, the lack of drunken revelers remains apparent despite many restrictions having been lifted. Locals wander wide-eyed through a part of town they rarely visit, amazed at its architectural beauty. Among city officials, this tiny silver lining to a global health catastrophe planted a seed. While Amsterdam arguably needs tourism to survive, maybe this once-in-a-century pandemic could be used to remake how the city embraces it.

As it turned out, local officials in other tourist hotspots across Europe had the same idea.

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TAGS: overtourism | Europe
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