What has tulips and a tourist problem? The Netherlands

The Dutch tourist board is scheming ways to discourage tourists from visiting certain areas after they trampled all the tulips.


May 8, 2019

With the number of tulip-trampling tourists expected to increase from 18m in 2018 to 42m by 2030 in the Netherlands, Dutch authorities are plotting ways to slow the selfie sticks.

‘Develop and discourage’ — Dutch tourist board

The Netherlands receives more tourists than it has citizens. The flood of visitors is particularly disruptive in places like Giethoorn, a village of 2.5k famous for its windmills that’s visited by 350k Chinese tourists annually.

Years of tourism campaigns have worked too well: The economy is flush with tourist dollars, but farms are being trampled and national emissions reduction targets are being derailed. 

Spread out the tourists, save the tulips

The Netherlands is lucky to be in a position where it doesn’t need tourists to keep the lights on: Not all countries can afford to turn their backs on a $91.8B industry.  

In the Netherlands, tourism accounts for only 2.7% of GDP: In places like The Bahamas and Barbados, it accounts for more than 25% of GDP. But since tourism still accounts for 1 in 13 Dutch jobs, the Netherlands needs to spread out tourism — not eliminate it.

Last year, the Netherlands removed its famous “I amsterdam” sign to make the city less ’Grammable — and encourage travelers to take their selfies elsewhere.

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