The Stay Away campaign to deter nuisance tourists from Britain visiting Amsterdam has not yet “lead to a direct decrease in the city’s attractiveness to party tourists,” city officials say.
The videos, in which tourists coming to the city for a “messy time” end up in police custody or in hospital, have been shown to young men aged 18 to 35 3.3 million times since the launch in March, according to the Parool.
The aim was to take a stand against nuisance tourism and irresponsible growth. “Visitors are still welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause nuisance,” economic affairs chief Sofyan Mbarki said at the time.
But while a majority of the target group are “more aware” of the rules and the way they should behave in the city centre, “they cannot actually state what the new limits are,” mayor Femke Halsema and Mbarki told councillors in a briefing.
In addition, “many of them are unaware of the ban on drinking and smoking cannabis in the street, the earlier closing times for bars, the ban on sleeping in cars and the ban on public urination.”
Furthermore, they say, Amsterdam still has a high level of attractiveness among the target group – among both those who have and have not seen the campaign, the briefing said. “Party tourists still see Amsterdam as the city where anything goes… and this remains a strong motivation to visit.”
The city’s marketing department will now look to see if the campaign message can be made more specific for this target audience. In addition, the campaign is being widened to tackle party tourists from other EU countries and from the Netherlands itself.
A second campaign “Renew your view” will promote Amsterdam from “new and fresh perspectives” and highlight the city’s diversity. The PR programme will be spread abroad and in the Amsterdam region as a whole and start at the end of this month.
As well as the “Stay away” campaign, the city has introduced a set of measures, including earlier closing times for brothels and bars, a crackdown on alcohol sales in the red light district, and a ban on smoking cannabis in public. Nevertheless, tourist numbers are forecast to top 20 million this year.
Earlier this month travel industry analyst ForwardKeys said the number of flights to Amsterdam had fallen 22% this year, when compared with the pre-coronavirus year of 2019, and this was taken by some to show the campaign was working.
But the figures only include regular flights, not budget airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair, which actually increased flights to some Dutch destinations. Nor did it take the impact of the flight cap and direct trains services into account.