While there are cities and countries in the world that promote tourism, Barcelona wishes for the contrary. With over 32 million foreign visitors in 2016, Mayor Ada Colau pushes for a new strategic plan that will help Barcelona win its fight against its war on tourism and recoup the city for the natives.
Prior to Mayor Colau's presentation of the city's Strategic Plan for Tourism 2020 that aims to decrease the flood of tourists in Barcelona, new hotels are also banned from opening in the city center as part of the Special Tourist Plan for Tourist Accommodation (PEUAT). The ban has blocked 30 on-going projects whose developers have already paid for the buildings and contract.
According to Travel and Leisure, 14 percent of Barcelona's annual revenue is derived from tourism industry. However, over 1.6 million inhabitants and many long-established local stores are pushed away in the city center by the growing number of tourist-trap shops, bars, and hotels. Prices of properties, as well as rental costs rise as well.
Mayor Colau's strategic plan seeks to restrain the growth of Barcelona's tourism industry and "give priority to the right of neighbors to live in their neighborhoods," Higher property taxes will be applied to vacation apartments. The city has also announced that licenses and permits to operate will no longer be given to new tourist apartments.
Barcelona will also impose higher charges for day trippers to exclude the city in the world's cheapest travel destinations and thereafter attract less foreign travelers. Moreover, parking rates for tourist buses along popular tourist attractions in the city will also be increased and will eventually cause the upsurge in tourist bus fares.
The city will also seek permission from the Catalan government if it will be allowed to have control over the beds and breakfast in all of Barcelona. If the plea will be granted, the city government will have the capability to control the total number of rooms that are permitted to be rented out annually.
Residents in Barcelona formed several anti-tourism groups to object the volume of tourists occupying the city, KUNC reports. Martí Cusó, a member of an anti-tourism group in the Gothic Quarter, said: "The promotion of tourism, and all these tourist apartments, is actually driving neighbors out. All the community that was living here has been broken - completely broken."
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