DutchAmsterdam.nl — Tourists are staying away from Amsterdam’s ‘clean’ Red Light District as a result of Project 1012 — the city’s efforts to clean up the area.
In response German sex emperium Beate Ushe, for the most part now in Dutch hands, plans to start a publicity campaign designed to attract more foreign tourists to the world-famous district.
The company operates ten adult shops in Amsterdam, the majority of which are located in the Red Light District.
“Things are not going well there, and that’s the result of the city’s measures,” says Serge van der Hooft, managing director for Beate Ushe. “Sex shop operators are suffering. The area always provided a big draw for foreign tourists. Many now stay away because they are under the impression that the Red Light District is gone.”
Shops in the area have lots between five and 35 percent in turnover, according to Van der Hooft. “In our shops we’re talking between four and thirteen percent, but our concern is more affected since Scala, our wholesale division, also supplied the other shops.”
Coalition Project 1012, named after the postal code for downtown Amsterdam, is meant to spruce up the entire historic center of the city. However, thus far the emphasis has been on the Red Light District, where the city says it must act in order curtail both human trafficking and the white-washing of money by criminal gangs.
To that end the city has closed down — or is in the process of doing so — several businesses through application of the BIBOP act. It also has made deals with a number of brothel owners, compelling them to leave the Red Light District. Amsterdam city has bought up their brothels, and turned them into fashion design studios and art galleries.
While many Amsterdammers at first welcomed the clean-up project, it has met with increasing criticism of those who believe the city’s heavy-handed approach is overstepping the original brief, and killing the ‘soul’ of the Red Light District and other affected areas.
It should be noted that in recent months Amsterdam has seen fewer tourists overall, due to the economic crisis and the strong Euro.
Earlier this week it was reported that prostitutes in the Red Light District have been forced to lower rates charged for their services.
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