Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Amsterdam’s latest tourism initiative, empty offices for digital nomads, and Dubai’s alcohol tax reprieve.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, March 24. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Office buildings worldwide have struggled to lure back workers who have opted for remote life turning instead to locations such as hotels and coffee shops. But in a new twist of irony, managers of those offices could get a boost from platforms working to connect them with companies that have gone hybrid, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.

UK-based coworking booking platform AndCo has launched a new platform called NO HQ in response to the surge in remote working teams eager to use offices. Although many companies have either scaled back or gotten rid of their offices, AndCo co-founder Tom Wordie said some teams want a place to meet that’s dedicated to them. NO HQ also aims to provide companies that kept their offices the opportunity to monetize spaces that sit empty. 

Wordie said AndCo will test NO HQ in Amsterdam first before possibly expanding to New York. He expressed confidence that the platform could succeed in New York. Parsons notes the city is losing out on $12 billion annually because of remote work. 

Next, speaking of Amsterdam, the Dutch city is looking to attract tourists it believes will help improve the quality of life for its residents. So it’s working to reduce the appeal of its internationally known red light district, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Habtemariam reports Amsterdam is launching a “Stay Away” campaign to discourage tourists primarily looking to party. The city is banning public consumption of cannabis in the red light district from mid-May. The neighborhood’s bars and restaurants will also have earlier closing times. Amsterdam’s mayor said the city wants visitors interested in its cultural institutions instead of those mainly coming to get stoned.  

Habtemariam writes the huge party crowds have had a negative impact on business development in Amsterdam. One resident said the city is home to an endless stream of pancake shops because it’s a major draw for stoned travelers. A Dutch government study found that nearly 60 percent of international tourists coming to Amsterdam do so to consume drugs.

Finally, Dubai recently suspended a tax on alcohol and lifted fees on personal alcohol licenses to help boost tourism. However, Contributor Harriet Akinyi reports that neighboring destinations with strict alcohol curbs aren’t taking similar steps. 

Akinyi cites Qatar and Saudi Arabia as two Middle Eastern countries not looking to make alcohol more accessible for tourists. Qatar banned the sale of beer at World Cup venues when it hosted the soccer spectacle last year. Qatar Tourism Chief Operating Officer Berthold Trenkel said the decision contributed to a relaxed atmosphere at stadiums during the tournament. As for Saudi Arabia, a high ranking Saudi official admitted he doesn’t see alcohol being allowed in the capital Riyadh by 2030. The city is bidding to host the Expo 2030 World Fair. 

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Tags: alcohol, amsterdam, dubai, netherlands, qatar, remote work, remote workers, saudi arabia, skift podcast

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