The city of Amsterdam has banned tours and shore excursions to its famous red light district with the Dutch government saying that the tours are disrespectful and contribute to congestion in the narrow canal-side streets.
The tours, which are an incredibly popular shore excursion offered by both ocean and river cruise companies, will be completely banned by January 1, 2020.
Each week, more than 1,000 guided tour groups pass through Oudekerksplein, the Red Light District’s main square and during peak hours – between 11am and noon and 7pm and 8pm – there are more than 25 groups which are usually in the area disturbing residents and businesses.
The city took the first steps to the new policy earlier this month with tours banned from 7pm.
“We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the Red Light District, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers,” Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said in a statement.
“It is outdated to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction.”
The city though, has had problems with over tourism. Last year, around 19 million tourists, including cruisers, visited the beautiful canal city. And the Dutch government has implemented a number of policies to try and curb the problem.
The first was a cruise passenger tourist tax which started at the beginning of the year. Visitors were charged eight euros per person, per a 24-hour period. And lines like Cruise & Maritime Voyages and MSC Cruises eliminated Amsterdam for its port calls, after citing the city had not given them enough notice.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.