Friday, January 27, 2017

Barcelona trying to control tourist numbers

According to a report in today's Guardian* newspaper, my near neighbour Barcelona, just over the border from where I live, is suffering from a massive influx of tourists - 32 millions annually compared with a resident population of just 1.2 citizens.

Many are classed as day-trippers but for those staying longer (some 8 million estimated) the city offers 75,000 hotel beds, some 50,000 registered holiday apartments and an estimated 50,000 ones.

Action is needed according to a newly-formed group SOS Barcelona, a combination of some 40 resident and community associations, who are protesting about increasing property prices for (would-be) residents and poor wages paid for thouse working in the tourist sector.

They are opposed by the hoteliers association who argue that more temporary accommodation is in fact needed for longer stay visitors who contribute substantially more to the local economy than the day-trippers. Their views seem to coincide with popular public opinion which in a survey last year conclude that Barcelona's biggest problem was unemployment and not the effects of tourism.

* My acknowledgements to Stephen Burgen, The Guardian, Friday 27 January 2017.

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