Barcelona has been one of the top tourist cities in the world and is continuing to stay on that list with a rapid growth of tourist traveling to the area. But it’s not something that the citizens of Barcelona are too happy about. The city passed a law this week to curb tourism as visitors have begun to overwhelm the city and anger the local residents when trying to live their normal life. Last year, the city’s 1.6 million residents were heavily outnumbered by an estimated 32 million visitors, about half of them were just day-trippers. The new law comes after more than 25 years of relentless promotion of the city as a tourist destination, and coincides with a planned “occupation” on Saturday of La Rambla, a street that has come to symbolize what many view as the excessive and unsustainable number of visitors.
Barcelona Urban Neighborhood and a few other organizations have organized community associations under the slogan “Barcelona isn’t for sale”. The protestors are calling for an end to property speculation, which is pricing residents out of the city, and to low-wage jobs in tourist service industry.
Even though we can understand that the residents want to keep their peace of living, it is also hard to regulate tourism in a whole city. It also is not a bad thing. Think about it! The tourists that are visiting, are bringing business and revenue to the local restaurants and small company owners. That is a way to keep the city going and provide money to the business that possibly need it. In a way, tourists are helping the community. It is understood that the city may be packed, citizens may not be able to enjoy their attractions here because it is full of tourists, but it would not be realistic for the city to completely dismiss tourists from coming into the city. There are pros and cons to everything.
A few citizens that are apart of the Neighborhood Assembly for Sustainable Tourism describes the negotiation as “very frustrating”. While taking a survey the was carried out by the city, residents voted that their biggest concerns was tourists invading their privacy and living.
We will hope that in the upcoming months once the summer ends, the citizens will feel a little more comfortable with the situation. Barcelona is a beautiful city as we all want to enjoy it.