DutchAmsterdam.nl — In the past two months, Amsterdam has seen significantly fewer tourists from Japan and the United States.
The number of Japanese visitors diminished by 42 percent compared to January and February 2008, while the number of Americans fell by 35 percent.
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The weak dollar, which makes Europe expensive for Americans, and the worldwide effects of the economic crisis are thought to be behind the drop.
Lodewijk Asscher, deputy mayor of economic affairs, confirmed the numbers in an interview with local TV station AT5. He called the developments worrisome.
“These are very hard numbers. They concern groups of tourist who tend to spend much money in the city,” Asscher said.
Hotels, restaurants, and shops as well as museums and tourist attractions are affected by the lower numbers. During the months of January and February, museums saw 21 percent fewer visitors. Attractions registered a drop of 27 percent compared to the same period last year.
Marketing Amsterdam closer to home
Asscher stated that Amsterdam is now focusing on tourists closer to home, from countries such as Belgium, Germany and France.
The city’s tourist office is also actively marketing Amsterdam to the Dutch — many of whom are also vacationing closer to home this year.
Amsterdam’s popular I Amsterdam discount card this year is also available in the Dutch language. The 24, 48 or 72-hours card provides over 30 free and 20 discounted offers on major tourist attractions and restaurants, along with unlimited use of Amsterdam’s public transport system. The smart card also includes a pocket guide to the city.
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