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A tenth of British tourists say they would be less likely to visit Amsterdam if the red light district relocates. The survey, from Opinium Amsterdam, found that one in 10 UK tourists said the move would make them less likely to visit the Dutch city.
While Amsterdam is famous for cultural hotspots such as the Rijksmusuem, many people think of the city’s red light district.
Amsterdam’s neon-lit red light district is home to the city’s brothels and sex shops and reflects the city’s tolerant attitude to sex work.
Sex work is legal in the Netherlands but workers must operate from a brothel and not on the street.
The area is one of the city’s top tourist attractions but new city plans could see it moved outside the centre.
Officials have proposed a plan to move the city’s brothels to a multi-storey ‘erotic centre’ outside the centre.
Although the plans received opposition from sex workers and local residents, there are still plans to relocate the industry.
Femke Halsema, Amsterdam’s mayor, previously told The Observer: “I hope it’s possible to create an erotic centre that has some class and distinction and isn’t a place where only petty criminals and the most vulnerable women gather.”
The plan is just one of the mayor’s ideas to change the nature of Amsterdam’s tourism and promote its cultural hotspots instead of hedonism.
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However, according to the survey results from Opinium Amsterdam, a tenth of Britons would be put off visiting the city if the red light district relocates.
One in five Britons thought the move was a bad idea while over half said the district was part of Amsterdam’s culture.
Many of those who were against the move thought that it would erase an important part of Amsterdam’s history.
Although tourists might be disappointed, many local residents are fed up with the noise and inappropriate behaviour the distract attracts.
Amsterdam is a leading stag party destination and locals often have to cope with tourism’s more negative effects.
Despite this, only around 35 percent of Amsterdam locals support the move and 21 percent think it would have the opposite effect and worsen the impact of tourism.
Many of the area’s sex workers are against the move and more than a third of Brits thought they should have a choice of where to work.
Emily Dickinson, head of Opinium Amsterdam, said: “The plan to move the Red Light district out of Amsterdam’s city centre hinges on the belief that it will help reduce the impact of tourism on Amsterdam locals – which our research into UK tourist numbers seems to confirm.
“However, looking at figures for tourists who would be more likely to go to Amsterdam if the Red Light district moved, a slightly higher proportion (15 percent) say they would – raising the question over whether the move will change anything for Amsterdam residents at all.”
Amsterdam is also looking at regulating the city’s famous cannabis coffee shops to try to deter some tourists from visiting.
Tourists could be banned from entering the coffee shops as Amsterdam seeks to crackdown on rowdy behaviour.
Cannabis use is tolerated in Amsterdam and the city’s relaxed attitude is one reason why some Britons visit.
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