Published on : Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Barcelona has always been a favorite city for tourists; however, due to a massive tourism boom, it’s putting a burden on the city’s services with overcrowded streets and this is frustrating locals. Around 32 million tourists visited Barcelona last year, whereas, the city’s population is only 1.6 million. Tourism has driven up the prices of rent and property purchases, leaving many Barcelona residents priced out of living in the city centre.
Unemployment problem is the second biggest problem faced by the city, with the first one being tourism.
In 2015, Barcelona mayor Ana Colau was elected with a promise to reverse the damaging effects of tourism. She warned that Barcelona, like Venice, stands the chance of ending up like it, becoming a victim of its own popularity. Since her coming into office, Barcelona has introduced a lot of measures to limit tourist numbers. The authorities are also thinking of charging a ‘day tripper’ tax. The city has also aimed accommodation sharing platforms Airbnb and HomeAway, fining them $850,000 each for advertising unlicensed apartments.
A new law which has been passed will also limit construction of new hotels, stopping licenses being issued to accommodation providers, until tourist numbers drop down. This law has, however, been criticized by hoteliers and business owners.