An area is referred to as a tourist attraction centre due to the intrinsic features which act as places of interest for tourists. United States, as well as most of the developed countries in the world, is highly praised by tourists as a place with striking holiday destinations. This is the area that has extremely beautiful and outstanding tourist attractions in the world. They are usually associated with illegal activities, which are sometimes culturally unethical, although people are able to put up with them. They include sex-related acts such as prostitution, drug trafficking, gambling, strip clubs and brothels among other entertainment centers. This paper will focus on two cities that are hailed as the most striking holiday destinations in the world, Las Vegas in Nevada and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It will discuss the underlying issues that make people choose these cities as their tourist destinations to allow them to sin.
Las Vegas is a conventional centre with all tourist activities. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world with the best entertainment and exhibition services that are comparable to none. It has top class hotels and casinos, standing out as the best vacation destination in the United States and the world at large. One of the most striking features about this city is that it provides relatively cheap lodging services which can be afforded by many people. Additionally, Amsterdam has a wide range of recreational facilities and cultural scenes that act as tourist attractions.
Tourism Industry in Amsterdam
According to Williams (2004), tourism is not a force that exists outside the local cultures but rather an integral part of ongoing processes of cultural formation (Williams 149). Some societies are concerned about the fact that tourism may change moral values of a society and this inhibits tourism in their society. To boost the tourism industry, therefore, Amsterdam city like Vegas has adopted tolerant and relaxed moral standards. In most tourist destinations, tourists promote casual lifestyle characterised by rejection of heavy or full clothing which eventually pulls the host towards adopting the culture. In most cases, this emerges as an illegal culture unless the political and social nature of the host allows it. For instance, Amsterdam and the whole of the Netherlands reaction and attitude towards sexuality, bisexuality, drug use and gambling are more tolerant than those of the most cities. Amsterdam has used this to encourage tourism in their city from tourists who do not enjoy such freedom in their home cities. This paper analyses the tourism industry in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in relation to the moral, social and political standards of the country.
Gambling, prostitution and crime are mostly linked together due to the fact that owners of casinos are the owners of brothels and are financed by criminal activity such as drug trafficking. To reduce the spread of illegal activities and the effects associated with the activities, the Netherlands government allowed prostitution and gambling to be legal in some areas of Amsterdam, its capital city. They also legalised some cafes to deal in drugs, such as marijuana, so that they could control it better when it is legal. This was also aimed at making the tourism industry more dynamic in its growth as the major source of revenue for the Netherlands. The following section analyzes the relationship between tourism and gambling in Amsterdam.
Tourism and gambling
Gambling in Amsterdam was mostly illegal until the 20th century. The reason as to why it was illegal is that it encouraged criminal behaviour so as to settle gambling debts. Authorities in the Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam, invested heavily into the reduction of addiction and crime combating. Prohibition of gambling only set the stage for illegal gambling houses to flourish because the police could not completely combat the vice.
However, gambling became more acceptable to the public which pushed politicians to lift the ban on illegal gambling. The effect of gambling was felt in the tourism industry when the government legalised betting on horseracing and football games. This attracted tourists especially those who had the resources to wager in the expensive horseracing competitions. Many owners of race horses also visited the country to earn from the new unrestricted market that was flourishing. The decision to legalise gambling in the Netherlands at large was influenced by the fact that some affluent people in the society including members of the royal families were gamblers. Being the capital city, Amsterdam boasted of the largest illegal casino in the red light district called the Cabala Club.
The Dutch government and local government of such cities as Amsterdam recognized gaming as important in fostering tourism. This was mostly under pressure because the bus tours to Belgium were organised for gaming purposes. The Dutch government realised that they could not influence gaming laws abroad and might as well earn from the revenue of the tourists interested in gaming.
According to a market research, the Dutch casinos and gaming sector had total gross gaming win of 3.1 billion dollars in 2010 which showed an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent since 2006. The performance of the sector is predicted to rise to a growth rate of 2.4 percent per annum for the next five years, which can bring the sector’s worth to 3.5 billion dollars by the end of 2015. The reason why casinos are attractive to tourists is that they are mostly situated in resorts where accommodation, as well as recreation services, is offered. Tourists are attracted to Amsterdam because gambling is legal and offered as just another service in the hospitality and entertainment industry. Legalisation of gambling in Amsterdam allows the industry to offer a variety of gambling services, such as slot machines, table wagering and sports betting. Most tourists travel with the purpose of entertainment and relaxation. Others travel for business purposes of betting and gaming being a part of the business. Such travel has encouraged the growth of the resorts and gaming industry in Amsterdam. Legalisation of gambling in the Netherlands has seen to the establishment of international casinos and resorts whose main business is gambling. This has encouraged tourism as wagers can travel to the city and enjoy their aesthetic value as well as indulge in gaming.
Legalisation of gambling has seen an increase in the tourism industry because tourists try to gamble in a controlled environment where peace and safety are guaranteed. Illegal gambling may not attract tourists, as in case of aggressiveness, tourists are not assured of their safety. On the part of the government, legalisation of gambling has generated a steady income of revenue, because the industry is not affected by the world economic changes. People involved in gambling are rich and can travel any time to enjoy a gambling session without hiding from the authorities.
Prostitution and Tourism
Amsterdam is renowned as the city for prostitution world wide. This is mostly because of its famous red light district locally known as Wallen. Wallen also serves as one of the main tourist attraction streets of the city. The red light district is famed not only for prostitution, but it also boasts of the most magnificent architectural set up in the world. It consists of buildings that date back to the war era. The red light district earned its fame in 1999 when prostitution was legalised in Amsterdam. Scantly dressed women display their wares from behind a window when beckoning their clients in.
Amsterdam’s prostitution goes back as far as 700yrs in the harbour district. The development of prostitution in the industry is because it is situated in the entrance of the city, giving the prostitutes an untainted market of tourists. The early tourists who encouraged prostitution in the area were sailors and travellers because of the accessibility of the town and the district in particular by water. The legalisation of prostitution at this time was restricted to certain areas of the district where access to married men and priests was restricted by police who manned brothels. In this area, prostitution was termed as a necessary evil because of the large number of tourists who sought the same.
Housing over 200,000 inhabitants in the 17th century, Amsterdam was the third largest city in Europe being high in trade and traffic. It was a main port where sailors were recruited and discharged making sex a high demand commodity. The women willing to supply sex were in large numbers including poor immigrants who could not find husbands. Then in 1670 the climax of the trade came, street lights were installed and the name ‘red light’ was born. Night life was now exotic and booming. Many tourists who were shy to visit the brothels during the day were now accommodated. In this regard, it is safe to state that tourism necessitated prostitution in Amsterdam.
The set up of the tourism industry was hinged on prostitution, as tourists visited places where they could eat, dance, and drink and pick a prostitute. The prisons department also encouraged prostitution tourism where tourists visited the prisons and gaped at convicted prostitutes for a fee. An attempt to close the brothels up led to a mass action where the prostitutes held open houses giving the public a peek inside the brothels on the red lights district. Dutchmen believed that it was necessary to legalise sex so as to protect women from molestation from sailors. They believed that sailors starved of sex because they lived for months seeing no other gender except their own. This meant that they required having sex as an important human social activity after lacking it for a long time. This meant that restriction of sex could not work in such a social set up.
The economic status of a city is also determined by its economic activities one of them being tourism for the purpose of earning foreign currency, thus, bringing income into the country. Although, the government in question did not state economic reasons for legalisation of prostitution, the number of unemployed immigrants was on the rise and allowing them to feed for their own food was necessary to combat poverty and raise the economic status of the people. The only restriction of prostitution in Amsterdam is forcing young girls into prostitution or seducing them into sex.
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The law passed in 1999 where the media were allowed to feature advertisement for the brothels although they had to e semi pornographic. The media portrayed prostitution positively. A prostitutes union was established to limit harassment by police. The state also funded research into prostitution so as to articulate the needs of the prostitutes and cater for them. Ths openly promoted acceptance of sex work. The real reason why prostitution is in Amsterdam is attractive to tourists is that it is legal and here, is no danger of being incarcerated in a foreign country for being engaged in sexual activities. The legalisation also reduces the need for brothels with madams who encourage child prostitution. This is a crime in Amsterdam and many brothels would not risk being forced dot close down for child prostitution.
Legalisation of sex work in Amsterdam is used to fund research work by the state and the concerned local authorities. This research work has encouraged the provision of treatment and preventive measures to prostitutes so as to minimize the possibility of venal diseases such as syphilis. Those tourists who seek adventures in sex find it encouraging because they are assured of risk free sex in terms of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
The red light district has become famous and fascinating to visitors because the entertainment industry, especially film production, has featured Amsterdam and especially the red light district in a number of movies that have done well in the world. This has encouraged tourism further because of people’s curiosity that started visiting the famous red light district. Some visitors walk around to see the district while others are amazed by the open display of sex on the streets. Recently however, the ugly side of prostitution has shown its face in the form of drug abuse. Although this has diversified the tourism industry, prostitution almost became run over by organized crimes such as drug trafficking. Many prostitutes became addicts and this led the government tightening the restrictions around tourism. The next section discusses the effect of tourism on drug use and vice-versa.
Drug and Tourism
The legalization of prostitution led to an increased use of drugs and drug trafficking in the red light district of Amsterdam. The prostitution industry and policies were openly defied and the whole city was also mostly run by gangsters and drug barons. This led the government to legalise use of soft drugs such as marijuana in an effort to curb the addiction and the vice of drug trafficking and related crimes. However, this almost brought the tourism industry to its ‘knees’. This was because the tourism industry experienced a surge in low budget travellers whose only attraction to the city was the availability of drugs. The tourists being focused on drugs were mostly youth who could only afford to stay in cheap hotels, thus, making the tourism industry reliant on cheap services of the industry. Their influx into the city edged out the middle and upper class tourists who felt that the city was too crowded with hippies and the security issues, thus, were raised. The stagnation of the industry was also because the brothel ads left the city dirty and drug traffickers and drug users were writing graffiti on the walls. This made the streets of Amsterdam unattractive and dirty for the tourists. On the other hand, legalisation f vices had driven the living standards of the people of Amsterdam high and they, thus charged very high rate for their tourism services. The increased drug use only served to intensify this problem by allowing many people to come to the city in search of drugs, thus putting pressure on the available amenities to be shared with the middle class and upper class tourists. In order to address these issues, new policies were made for the affluent and middle class tourists. Coffee shops were allowed and there was licence where one could get the drugs. These served to put order in the tourism industry and sell as provide income for the local authority.
The soft drug policy by the local authority has given the capital and the country competitive advantage to its neighbours. This is because street peddling of drugs was replaced by an organised system where some coffee shops were given the license to operate, thus regulating drug use and its accessibility to local people and tourists. The shops are licensed to sell specific clients defined by their geographic origin, the brand origin and promotion of home grown marijuana.
The legalisation of soft drugs has also fostered tourism in that the city organises festivals where they reward the best weed (Hoffman, Fainstein and Judd). These products are advertised openly as having a stimulating effect on the mind. The advertising encourages tourism. The activities in Amsterdam tourism industry is highly dependant on their policies on drugs. The government also takes it upon itself to educate the youth who are provided with the labour behind the tourism industry. The tourists are impressed by the vast knowledge, which the youth has on drugs and their use. This has encouraged the tourism market to enlarge and to accommodate diverse people with diverse cultures into Amsterdam.
Recently, the government issued a policy aimed at regulating drug use in Amsterdam. This has mostly been because the neighbouring countries have given them pressure concerning their stand in drug abuse. The neighbours argue that the drug use is spilling into their cities and it is impossible to regulate its use in their towns when the neighbours contradict their policies.
To this effect, the government has issued directions to ban tourists from visiting coffee shops where marijuana is sold. The critics of this movement term it as tourism suicide because the unique policies on drug offer a unique experience to tourists. It is also argued that banning tourism from accessing the services of the coffee shops is seen as discriminative. The law dictates that all those wishing to visit the coffee shops should register for an annual pass which they shall have to pay for.
Tourism in Amsterdam: FACTS
According to research done on the growth of tourism industry in the duct country, tourism has grown profoundly. In the factual reports of tourism in Amsterdam, the city attracted 5.3 million people while it can handle a capacity of 9.7 million bed nights. This has been a steady rise since 2005 when the total of 22 percent increase has been achieved. It has also been found that the tourists stay longer in Amsterdam with rate of 1.84 from the 2007 1.82 rate.
The report found out that the tourists’ attraction has brought in diverse tourists with the major tourists being the Britons followed by the Italians. The room occupancy and room rates have also increased with time reaching at all time high in 2010. The number of hotels has risen to 370 hotels with the total number of rooms being 21, 700 rooms with bed capacity of 47, 700. The average room occupancy for 2010 was 72% while the rates were slightly more than 2008-2009. The tourism industry has also seen growth in its labour force where it offers the society total of 50,100 jobs. 780 of these have been created in the last year.
The metropolitan region of the city has contributed significantly to the tourism industry where the tourist cite the diverse services offered to them including the services termed as morally wrong as were discussed in the paper. The tourists also cite the main aim of their visit as leisure and culture. This is aided by the fact that the Dutch boast of they prowess in catering. The nature of the tourism industry in Amsterdam depends on the culture of the people of Holland and their culture is found stimulating to foreigners. Their tolerance for social evils that they deem necessary also contributes to the tourism industry.
Compared to other cities and regions in the country, Amsterdam tourism competes successfully. However, the major tourist attraction in Holland is largely held by the Amsteel- Meerlanden in the south of Amsterdam with 20% of the total tourism earning. Amsterdam holds the second position with 14% economic implication of tourism on Holland.
The tourism places mostly visited in Amsterdam includes the museum of history and arts where prostitution form the early days is displayed. The red light district is also one of the famous tourist destinations in the region. However, this has been decreased with the restriction of movement and other restricting policies such as restricted display of naked girls in the window shops.
The number of tourists visiting Amsterdam for leisure and culture is expected to fall with the abolition of coffee shops which sell soft drugs. There is also fear that this may affect tourism negatively because a ban on use of cannabis for tourists may foster illegal trafficking of drugs on the streets which may cause the streets to deteriorate and security to be compromised. Unruly behaviour and addiction to substance may become evident with the restriction policies.
It is also feared that other sectors may also be negatively affected by total restriction of drug use such as the transport industry.
The gambling industry affects tourism in that it offers the tourism to those who are business oriented. The business men who earn from wagering on competition such as horseracing contribute a lot of to the tourism industry.
Tourism Industry in Las Vegas (Sex and gambling)
Las Vegas is a major tourist attraction in the world. The region is famous for gambling and sex in the USA. The region has affluent individuals and influx of tourists. The city is at the heart of California, which is the 6th richest state in the country. The role of sex in tourism can be traced to gambling as a way of making a living in the Nevada desert. Originating from entertainment, sex appeal has delved into the region more than any other region in the world. The state is situated there where the Hollywood companies come to shoot films due to the cheap Mexican labor. Bugsy Siegel is a Casino owner in the desert, and was among the first entrepreneurs to create the scene and an opening field for other subsequent businesses. He owns Tropicana Casino. There was the creation of other casinos, which have created a major interplay of sex and gambling. The main feature of the casinos is the feminine presence to color the desert.
Sex is a major form of advertisement for casinos in the desert. The geographical location of Nevada would not be enough to bring customers to the region. This was one of the major motivations of engaging in the intense sex advertisement to attract customers. One encounters beautiful women who host customers. There are lavish presentation shows with seductively dressed females. The most common feature of the region is scantily dressed women. This led to the perfect blend of casinos and women. The number of visitors in 2010 according to flight statistics was 34,450,600.
The advertisement takes several forms; there are attendants in hotels that walk around in bikinis at night and very short andd exposing skirts during the day. Any visitor to the region will be met by such images at most casinos. The women, who are the major form of advertisement, walk around to entertain visitor. They are more often than not, dressed in exposing tops, bare backs around the guests relaxation areas like the gaming parlors. They distribute “affection and attention” while serving drinks. There are displays of pornographic imagery in the form of billboards. There are models, who pose in photos to create sexual fantasies for guests. There are street individuals who walk around distributing catalogues, brochures and flyers inviting you to join them in their indulgencies. The nature of the city, its roots of origin and development of sex, have made Las Vegas the famous “sin city.
Tourists flow in large numbers to witness and tour the famous city. Indulgence in sex in the area has led to confrontations with the police. This is largely because prostitution is illegal. This is the case like other states in the USA. The state has legalized brothels to offer sex to tourists but the location is far from the city. Tourists drive about 60 miles to another county, Nye, to access the brothels. This is almost a contradiction of the sex appeal posed by the city and the illegal state of prostitution. The brothels are regulated by the state. With the regulations, the chances of fraud are minimal for fear of losing the state license. This creates a major tourist attraction. The workers in the brothels succumb to frequent medical examinations to ensure safe and healthy sex. These brothels are run for bisexuals, homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Interesting enough, gay and lesbian clubs are recognized by the state. Both young men and women are always on demand for sex services. In casinos, there is the provision of erotic entertainment ranging from lap dances, strippers, and live porn. This depends on the time of the day and the kind of audience in attendance. The dancers who are exotic make large amounts of money from the ever streaming in tourists. Services like lap dance cost extra dollars. From the hotel books of account, an average tourist spends $300-$500 per night at casinos or brothels. The strippers and models are not restricted to females alone as in the past. In the recent past, men strippers are emerging in the gay clubs and brothels. There are fetishes and other forms of sex entertainment all for the suits of the tourist.
The brothels make up a source of GDP to the state in the political economy of contemporary tourism. The promotion of sex in the desert has a quantifiable amount of returns for the government. The sexual commerce is not fully accepted in all the states of America. It is the role of the government to promote its trading areas, and market them, but this has largely been curtailed in the US government. The laws of liberalism require that free trade should be recognized and supported by the government but due to the serious consequences and risks involved the laws in place limit sexual commerce.
There is recruitment of young girls, some of whom are barely 18, to engage in the sex trade. This has been a practice that has become a worrying trend due to the rising numbers of child trafficking. The young girls, and of late boys, have been used for the promotion of commercial sex across America. Minors are arrested every day in America due to sexual indulgences like prostitution. The young girls are mostly collected by clients in trucking routes because such joints are easy to conceal the sex trading.
The media have been criticized as a major force of exposing explicit sexual imagery to the society. American policy makers and citizens are against the commercial sex trade in spite of the culture which promotes commercial sex. Religious institutions have played a vital role in condemning the acts as they cause rot to the society. The religious groupings advocate abstinence. They also insist on fidelity in relationships as contrasted by the businesses, which market sexuality and sex acts to all Americans.
In general, Las Vegas relies heavily on sex tourism. The strategies to attract clients are suggestive. This promotion campaign promotes a permissive society which is devoid of morals. Hotels make some efforts in regulation of access to the rooms located above the casinos. This is intended to prevent prostitution, but in most cases there are sights of young girls hanging out with the gamblers. Taxi drivers have made a fortune from sex tourism. They also facilitate the connection between clients and tourists. The prostitutes are put their trust on taxi drivers, who in most cases are their accomplices. In some cases, the taxi drivers earn bonuses when the customers have sex at the back of the cab. There are hotels that provide brothels links and have their own taxi system to deliver in secret locations and they keep the clients’ information highly confidential.
Gambling is a practice which is mainly oriented in casinos. It is legal in most states in the USA. The perception and public opinion have shifted about gambling until the art has become acceptable. Gambling has not only been seen in casinos but even in common places. This has been raised from an explosion of gaming and sexually oriented businesses. Gambling was in the past marginal, but has now evolved to be a major operation, with licenses. In Las Vegas, the connection between the casino games and the sex industry has strongly been established.
Las Vegas casinos are owned by billionaires. Casinos apart from the promotion of sex get money from forms of gambling like lotteries and wagering on racing. Gambling may also take the form of charity. This is the famous charitable gambling. There are also games, for instance, poker games and the strip tease. Large amounts of money can be won in the casinos, even in millions of dollars. The casino owners end up with the money because even the few ones that win spend back their money back at the casino by trying over and over again. It is a game of luck for the players and big business for casino owners.
In Nevada, the casinos have a direct boost to the tourism industry due to the impact of sex advertisement and appeal. There are famous casinos in Las Vegas. The best casinos in the world are located in this city. Some of them include the Las Vegas, The Mirage, Excalibur, Treasure Island, MGM Grand, and Luxor. The city has 105,000 hotel rooms and resorts, which make the city the most ideal place for any tourist in the world. They boost tourism by the recognition of the state, where gambling is legal. The tourists feel safer and more comfortable in such an environment than, for instance, there where gambling is illegal.
Gambling has led to the great success of the casinos, equipped with the sex appeal. It creates employment opportunities for local population, ranging from taxi drivers, dancers, strippers, and the state in general. Conversely, the morals have been uprooted from the region due to the overexposure of nudity and lack of respect for the bodies of women. Tourism has greatly thrived in the region due to the casinos and the wide sex appeal. The effects are both negative and positive but with the regulation by the state, the industry can be streamlined to realize profits and control of the society. The region success in tourism is due to the casinos and sexual appeal, without which the success would be marred.
Drugs in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is the most heavily populated city in the state of Nevada. It is the city that is globally known for gambling, entertainment and drug trafficking. It is a magnificent city with state- of–the art convention resources. The city has a very high influx of tourists who are attracted by the wide range of entertainments. As result, drug traffickers normally make use of large number of people to conceal their drug distribution processes.
There are social factors that encourage visitors in Las Vegas to engage themselves in drug trafficking. For example, drug traffickers majorly use ordinary means of transport that are used by tourists such as private and public vehicles, trains as well as airplanes to traverse from one region to another to reach their clients. Furthermore, residents of Las Vegas city are used to a life of entertainment that goes all round the clock (NationalDrugIntelligenceCenter, 2008). As result, some of the visitors of the place end up being susceptible to abuse of drugs.
Ice methamphetamine is the largely abused drug in Las Vegas. Marijuana is also greatly abused in Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada. It is usually produced in Mexico and then conveyed to the area by land. There has been increase in use of the drugs among residents in the region. Consequently, the increasing demand has made others to start cultivating the weed in the region for easier access. Although the drug is cultivated in very concealed place, especially indoors, state authorities have remained vigilant in eradication of marijuana plantations in the area.
Powder cocaine is yet another drug that is readily accessible in Las Vegas. As a matter of fact, the city is used as the distribution centre for cocaine. Street gangs have been witnessed to involve themselves in distribution of cocaine in Las Vegas and Reno. They also involve themselves in distribution of heroin, which is commonly abused in the region.
There are various reasons that encourage drug trade in Las Vegas. Most of them are politically instigated and as result, the city provides the most suitable environment for drug trafficking. For instance, it has been established that these drugs get their way into the state of Nevada and into Las Vegas owing to the unrestricted borders with California and Arizona. It is worth noting that Las Vegas is used as a distribution region for cocaine. Most of the drug traffickers in the region normally visit Las Vegas, where they access cocaine in wholesale amounts for redistribution to other areas.
In addition, sentences that are imposed on drug related crimes are dependent on an intricate system that considers the type of drug involved, its amount and the criminal record of the culprit. The most important factor to note is that the more the amount of the drug is used, the greater the intended sentence is. There are federal guidelines that are used when crimes for specific drug are committed. For instance, trafficking of drugs such as heroin and cocaine attracts a five year sentence and high fines. Also, the fine is increased in proportion to the quantity of drug being involved. Nevertheless, low fines that are imposed on people who sell marijuana encourage many people to engage in this trade due to the huge profits they make out of it. In 2007 alone, over one hundred and seventy drug arrest cases were reported by drug enforcement authorities.