How Barcelona Spain is Attracting More Tourists
Did you know that Barcelona is the 25th most visited city in the world and the 6th among European destinations as of 2015? These figures were arrived at using international arrivals that spend a day or more in the city. Since Spain opened its doors to visitors in the 1950s under the then head of state and military dictator General Francisco Franco, the number of tourists visiting Barcelona and Spain, in general, has been on the rise. In recent years, the numbers have skyrocketed even further.
In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that the number of tourists was at 32 million people which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it creates employment, it’s the primary source of income for many families and therefore, supports the economy of this autonomous community. Well, here’s how Barcelona Spain is Attracting More Tourists:
1. Home-Sharing Platforms
Thanks to home sharing platforms, the city can accommodate more tourists. It’s estimated that the number of legally registered places and those that aren’t are almost equal. 75,000 is the number of hotel beds, of this 50,000 are Airbnb and HomeAway. There’s an additional around 50,000 beds in these home-sharing platforms not registered.
2. Low-Cost Flights
Cutting down on airfares has a way of making a destination appealing. There are several cheap flights to the city which makes it appeal to visitors. Combine the flight with an amazing Barcelona Tour, and you get to have so much fun.
3. Handling “Turismofobia”
A lot of the places which made the city a ‘must go to’ destination have been overrun by tourists making it lose its charm. Take, for example, La Rambla, the most famous of Barcelona streets loved by tourists, loathed by residents thanks to overcrowding.
Although tourism is booming, there are some serious problems facing the sector. It’s estimated that for every person in Barcelona there are 4.1 tourists. It has a population of approximately 1.6 million people, compared to the over 30 million visitors annually; of course, that becomes a significant problem. The influx in the number of visitors has caused the cost of living for residents to increase. As if that’s not enough, they are being evicted from their homes to create more accommodation for the tourists. It has led to “turismofobia.”
Violent attacks and protests have not solved much towards the existing problems. However, that doesn’t imply that the residents don’t consider tourism to be good for them. You’ll be surprised to discover more than 85% find it to be positive, but propose that it be regulated.
So what’s being done to make locals feel at ease and more welcoming?
- Providing accommodation for tourists has resulted in increased rent for locals. That’s because many apartments which belonged to locals have been sold to investors who convert them to serve tourists. Therefore, as of 2015, the Barcelonan government suspended all licensing and building of hotels, apartments, and hostels.
- Early 2017, PEUAT (Plan Especial Urbanístico de Alojamiento Turístico) was passed. It’s a special tourism accommodation plan that restricts tourists’ hotels, hostels, and apartments to specific places.
- La Rambla is practically impassable for residents most parts of the year. Therefore in a bid to attract them back to the famous street, a consortium was created to devise a plan.
All the above are steps taken in a bid to attract more tourists while at the same time put an end to “turismofobia.” It is bad for tourism. Barcelona is an exciting destination and one that you should make a point of visiting.