There is often no getting through in Amsterdam. Cycling tourists zigzagging from left to right. And on rainy days also the tourists on foot, wrapped in ponchos - with sunglasses, are blind walking everywhere.
Recently I read an article in the Parool with the headline: "Show guts, stop tourism". Amsterdam in Progress (AiP) is mentioned as an independent think tank that develops concrete plans to stimulate the balance in the city. Seems to me like a very good idea. Also very complex. Because how do you align commercial interests with those of residents?
"Due to the lack of a reliable and independent source, an assessment of the tangible and intangible costs and benefits of tourism cannot be made". It is stated in the article.
In my opinion this is not the case, because those sources are there. However, you should not expect that you will ever get one single source that has it all. And if that source ever came, then one probably concludes: too many people, too little revenue.
The underlying question is, just like I often encounter with many companies; What do we want to achieve with data? In my opinion, the discussion lacks a data strategy that indicates what the purpose is, what data there is or should be, how it is used and by whom.
For a client, a museum in Amsterdam, we wrote an advice to fix their problem; a bigger share of tourists have to come to our museum. Too many tourists go to other museums that are less fun and more expensive. In short, they said; we want more people in our museum.
In the data strategy we wrote, we included a data landscape. And that contained the application of a very reliable and independent data source. Namely www.cruisekalender.eu/Amsterdam. This source shows exactly where a part of our client's target audience is. It is precisely known on an hourly basis how many people come ashore in the next years.
A data strategy is essential but is lacking in the discussion about costs and benefits of tourists. Independent and reliable sources are available. But a strategy containing a data landscape of those sources and a plan how to use them is lacking. That is the first step towards an independent and reliable approach.