Amsterdam, Sick of Partying Tourists, Says No Thanks

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Amsterdam has a message for tourists who want to party hard while visiting the city: Stay away.

The Netherlands’ capital plans to launch a deterrence campaign later this month aimed at tourists who go wild during their visits. In addition to new ads, the city has proposed rules in its infamous Red Light District, such as a ban on smoking marijuana in the street, earlier weekend closing times for bars, clubs and sex-work establishments and reduced alcohol sales.

Amsterdam’s liberal rules for drugs and prostitution have long attracted travelers looking to let loose, but officials say they are taking it too far and harming the quality of life for residents.

Many places are redefining what role they want tourism to play as travel demand soars and people want to knock destinations off their bucket lists. In 2020, the government overseeing Spanish islands including Ibiza introduced restrictions on happy hour, and prohibited pub crawls and party boats in certain areas in response to bad behavior by intoxicated partyers.

“It comes down to: Can cities ultimately choose their visitors?” says Peter Jordan, head of insights at Toposophy, a European agency that advises on destination management. The company has previously worked with Amsterdam’s tourism marketing agency.