Cruises lines have ditched calling at Amsterdam after the city revealed it would be imposing a tourist tax on cruise passengers.
The city has tourist levies in place for those who book hotels, B&B’s as well as Airbnb, which means that cruise passengers have bypassed the tax – until now.
From January 1, Amsterdam started charging cruise operators €8 per person for visitors staying 24 hours or less, which is then passed on to passengers.
Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) and MSC Cruises, as a result of the tax, have decided to replace or cancel stops in the city. CMV also pointed out that Amsterdam revealed the tax at late notice. The city only told cruise lines about the levy in November 2018.
CMV’s CEO Christian Verhounig said in a statement: “Stringent cost controls and long-term planning are key components in achieving the required CMV pricing model. The late introduction of these new and un-phased charges are therefore not budgeted and simply cannot be absorbed.”
“The local politicians have failed to acknowledge or understand that the cruise industry plans their budgets two to three years ahead and have been unwilling to look into a proper implementation schedule. Fortunately, we have mobile assets and when forced by short-term political objectives, can change our programming.”
The line has cancelled the rest of its calls to Amsterdam in 2019 and 2020 – the Columbus was supposed to make 30 calls while the Magellan was scheduled for seven. Instead, the line will be sending its ships to Rotterdam.
Gianluca Suprani, Head of global port development and shore activities told Seatrade Cruise that the company had decided to withdrawal calls in 2019.
“We decided to pull our business in 2019 and as a result Amsterdam city stands to lose between €50-100 per passenger in respect of potential spend.”
The Cruise Lines International Association in the UK and Ireland said members were extremely disappointed that the City of Amsterdam has introduced a day tourist tax.
Andy Harmer, director of CLIA UK & Ireland told The Telegraph: “Transit cruise passengers represent only one per cent of the total tourist traffic in Amsterdam and last year the City of Amsterdam received over €60 million in net revenues from the Port of Amsterdam as a result of cruise calls to the city.
“In comparison the remaining 99 per cent of the tourist traffic are expected to contribute via all tourist taxes, just short of €80 million in 2019. It is self-evident that the contribution of cruise passengers is extremely disproportionate.”
Amsterdam is not the only city to put a tax on cruise passengers – Venice also recently imposed a €10 fee on visitors, which would then be added to their ticket. The city also announced, it would be banning cruise ships over 55,000 tonnes from sailing bast St Mark’s Square which would come into effect by 2021.
In 2017, the Catalan government said it would be updating its tourist tax to include cruise passengers staying less than 12 hours in the port of Barcelona.