Amsterdam Foreign Visitor Numbers Reach New Highs in 2023

Amsterdam Foreign Visitor Numbers Reach New Highs in 2023

In 2023, Amsterdam saw a surge in tourists staying overnight, with 9.4 million visitors spending at least one night in the city.

The city council reported that there were a total of 22.1 million overnight stays, which was higher than expected and set a new record.

Over-tourism measures deemed necessary

Despite the city’s efforts to reduce excessive tourism, the number of visitors keeps growing.

Sofyan Mbarki, Amsterdam’s tourism chief, said this increase is part of a global trend that cannot be stopped.

He stressed the need to take measures to control over-tourism and limit the number of overnight stays.

Amsterdam tightens tourism restrictions

Amsterdam has already started addressing the issue by raising tourist taxes to some of the highest in the world.

The city also plans to cut down on river cruise traffic and has banned the construction of new hotels.

Additionally, there are restrictions on holiday rentals and bed & breakfasts. 

Locals can rent out their homes for a maximum of 30 days per year and must get a license from the city council.

City center tackles nuisance tourism

Amsterdam has been dealing with problems caused by too many tourists, especially in the city center.

To address this, the city has taken specific steps such as closing brothels and bars earlier, limiting alcohol sales in the red-light district, and banning smoking cannabis in public.

Day visitors boost tourism surge

In addition to overnight stays, Amsterdam welcomed 15.1 million day visitors last year, with approximately 60% coming from within the Netherlands.

This is a significant increase compared to 12.6 million day visitors in 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic.

A new era for EU travel

In mid-2025, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will launch. This system will check visitors from countries that do not need Schengen visas before they travel.

It will add extra security for travelers going to Amsterdam and other EU destinations. 

While ETIAS might make travel smoother, it could also affect the number of tourists visiting Amsterdam and other places in Europe.

Amsterdam a model for EU immigration?

As Amsterdam grapples with the challenges of over-tourism, its strategies could serve as a model for other EU countries facing similar issues.

The city’s proactive measures, such as increasing tourist taxes and restricting holiday rentals, demonstrate a commitment to balancing the benefits of tourism with the well-being of local communities.

These policies may inspire other EU nations to adopt similar approaches in managing their own immigration and tourism policies, ensuring sustainable growth and livability for all.

Balancing tourism and livability

As Amsterdam continues to attract record numbers of tourists, city officials are working to strike a balance between welcoming visitors and maintaining the city's livability for residents.

The implementation of targeted measures aims to mitigate the negative impacts of over-tourism while ensuring that Amsterdam remains a vibrant and attractive destination.