Benchmark Hospitality Amsterdam

cover-Benchmark-Hospitality-AmsterdamReport voor Option Culture: Rapport over stand van zaken op gastvrijheid gebied in Amsterdam als onderdeel van een groter Europees onderzoeks. Lombarts, A. (2011).

During the last few years, Amsterdam gradually ranked worse on aspects such as hospitality, courtesy and attractiveness, so indicated various researches. Together with the corporate community, the municipality wants to change this. The so-called ‘Red Carpet’, the fact that Amsterdam welcomes its guests cordially, should be omnipresent and tangible again. Amsterdam has to become more hospitable (Gemeente Amsterdam, 2006: 4-5, translated by the author).

Amsterdam is known worldwide. Not only tourists from all-over but also international companies come to visit the city or to settle their European headquarters in it. The Dutch mentality of entrepreneurship has a lot of advantages: the Dutch speak their languages fluently; they are open-minded and very tolerant. But there are also a few remarks to make about this mentality. One of them is the Dutch bluntness. Dutch people are very direct and say what they think. ‘Amsterdammers’ the inhabitants of Amsterdam are not different. As residents of the country’s capital they behave sometimes even more direct than the inhabitants of the Northern and Southern provinces and cities. Illustrative for Amsterdam, taxi drivers refuse to take passengers for short trips; cyclists overrun visitors who are usually not used to the number of cyclists; shopkeepers do not serve their clients properly etc. For foreigners this is not always pleasant and it is even regarded as rude. In a world that becomes smaller and smaller, with an overwhelming offer of destinations to visit, it is important to pay more attention to pampering the visitors: (international) tourism is an important source of income to the city.

Since 2006, there is a special program, the ‘Welcome program’, which is set up to improve the hospitality of Amsterdam. This program focuses especially on visitors who spend a limited time in Amsterdam. Next to facilities or activities set up for short-stay visitors, there are also facilities for long-stay guests such as expats, another important group of visitors with a slightly different perspective than tourists. Since 2008 there is a special Expatcenter that assist expats settling in Amsterdam and its surrounding cities.

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