If one of the reasons why you would visit the Netherlands is cannabis, you might want to tick that off your bucket list sooner rather than later. An ongoing debate has been surfacing since the recent survey conducted by the Dutch Office for Information, Research and Statistics, commissioned by Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema on young tourists. The survey revealed that over half of the 1,100 interviewed said the primary motive for their visit was to experience a cannabis cafe. In her letter to the councillors written in July 2019, the mayor stated that the city’s coffee shops can put “the quality of life in the city centre under pressure.”
This switch could have multiple repercussions on the demographics and intention of tourism in the Netherlands. A number of news articles have been surfacing showing the loss of certain demographics, notably Germany, France, and the U.K. Other articles highlighted prospective new profiles of tourists and reasons to come to visit the Netherlands that are not related to the consumption of cannabis, therefore showing the potentially positive effects if this policy goes through.
Consequently, the topic of our research will focus on the positive and negative repercussions of banning cannabis to tourists in Amsterdam. As the most concerned age group buy cannabis is between 18-35, we will mainly focus on this group, giving the locals and tourist point of view. This will allow us to evaluate “positive” and “negative” previously mentioned aspects, respectively being from residents and tourists point of view.
It is interesting to see how other cities look for alternatives to increase the number of tourists while Amsterdam is trying to decrease it due to how overcrowded the city is. In the world’s eyes, the Dutch capital is only associated with weed – tourists come here and mostly ignore all the other things the city has to offer, especially young people. The debate about decreasing the number of tourists has been going on for quite some time, but now that the solutions proposed are more concrete as there is more information available on this topic that can be researched.
The government is trying to change the type of tourists that come here and thus decrease the number of tourists who only visit Amsterdam to smoke weed in an attempt to change how the world perceives the city. As residents of this city, this issue is very relevant to us because we are constantly affected by ‘high’ and loud people on the streets especially in the city centre- and this could get frustrating at times.
Through the research, it would also be interesting to see if the international perspective on the Netherlands changes and if this decision will affect legalisation of marijuana in other countries in the sense of other countries exploring this industry because it is a money-making one.
In order to conduct this research, we will be using different approaches in order to gain access to the data we need. Firstly, we will use the World Value Survey database where we will search for different keywords in order to observe the statistics. By this, we mean that we will be making a list of specific keywords for our topic and search them up. Moreover, we want to interact with both sides: residents and tourists in order to see what is their perspective on the situation. We plan on contributing to this debate by looking at the positive and negative aspects of this debate. With this mind, we plan on using two methods to collect our data. We will be creating an online survey which will consist of six questions and will be sent off to people between the age group of 18-35.
These include: What is your nationality?
How old are you? Are you a: resident or tourist? Do you smoke weed on a regular basis? What attracts/attracted you to Amsterdam? Would you come back to Amsterdam if cannabis was banned from tourists?
As well as this, we will also be asking both residents of Amsterdam and tourists what their views and opinions are on this topic.
After conducting some research on our topic, we discovered many interesting statistics that will support us throughout our research. The ‘Dutch Office for Research’ has published a report focusing on the statistics in regards to weed and tourism in Amsterdam. These statistics included that “Up to 44% of Brits, 50% of Germans and 45% of French tourists said they would no longer visit Amsterdam if they could not enter coffee shops, which would cut the tourism crowd from these countries by almost half” (Dutch Office for Research). Over “57% see coffee shops as one of their mean reasons to visit Amsterdam” (Dutch Office for Research). These statistics clearly show how big of impact cannabis has on tourists and their motivations for visiting Amsterdam.
Our research will mostly be based on our own statistics and findings, which will be collected through an online survey, as well as surveying people in well-known tourist locations around Amsterdam (Dam Square, Central Station). These methods of data collection will hopefully provide us with interesting information and statistics that we can work with.