Published on : Friday, January 27, 2017
Barcelona tourism authorities are expected to pass a law today, for restraining tourism, as visitors are overwhelming the city and angering local residents. Last year, a whopping 32 million visitors came to the city, surpassing its 1.6 million residents. Half of them were day-trippers. This law comes after 25 years of relentless promotion of the city as a tourist destination. It coincides with a planned “occupation” of La Rambla, a street that has come to symbolize what many view as too much and unsu stainable number of tourists.
This occupation has been organized by the Barcelona Urban Neighborhood Association, along with over 40 residents and community associations. The slogan is “Barcelona isn’t for sale” and the protestors are calling for an end to property speculation, which is pricing residents out of the city, and to low-salary jobs in tourist service industries. Tourism and restaurant sectors are meagerly paid in Barcelona, and those employed in these areas earn half the average salary.
This new law will limit number of beds on offer from hotels and tourist apartments. It imposes a moratorium on building new hotels and curbs issuing licenses for tourist apartments. However, since a number of projects are in the pipeline, this law would come into effect around 2019. This proposal has already met with fierce opposition from the tourism industry.