Amsterdam’s Plea to Tourists: Visit, but Please Behave Yourselves

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NY Times: AMSTERDAM — It’s not a problem many vacation destinations spend much effort worrying about or money trying to fix: the wrong kind of tourist.

But that is the challenge increasingly faced by Amsterdam, where visitor numbers have shot up more than 60 percent in the past decade, bolstered by low-cost flights, cheap accommodation and the ease of traveling across open European borders.

With its centuries-old canals, vibrant historic center and flourishing art scene, Amsterdam takes pride in its cultural riches. But there is a growing perception that some who come to the city are more interested in less high-minded pursuits — namely, marijuana and prostitution, both of which are largely legal — and may be doing more harm than good.

Other destinations have struggled under the sheer weight of visitors: the Galápagos Islands; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Venice have all expressed concern about “overtourism,” with technology, including apps like Airbnb, often cited as a driver of the problem.  Read more.

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(Image: Prostitutes behind display windows in Amsterdam’s overcrowded red-light district.; Source: Jasper Juinen for The New York Times)

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