The Strategic Tourism Plan 2020 opened up an intense process of reflection and shared knowledge on tourist activity in the city and its effects. It highlights the importance of governing tourism through the design of shared strategies, guaranteeing the city’s overall interests.
The starting point for drafting the Strategic Tourism Plan 2020 was:
- The continued increase in visitor numbers and the emergence of new disruptive activities (accommodation, transport, services, etc.)
- The expansion and increase in the effects of tourist activities on the municipal and metropolitan area.
- The updating of acquired commitments as a responsible and sustainable destination.
- The demand for new governance mechanisms with a greater role for the public.
- The need to integrate tourist activities into urban-management tools.
The result of this process of reflection was the definition of a tourism strategy for Barcelona firmly aimed at guaranteeing the destination’s sustainability, promoting, fostering and demanding responsibility for the actions, practices and activities that make up the city today, shaping the city of the future.
The tourism strategy has been drafted by:
- Defining 5 areas: Governance, Tourism Management, Territorial Strategy, Jobs and Enterprise, and Promotion and Marketing, between them covering 80 strategic challenges.
- Defining 10 strategic programmes detailing 30 lines of action and 100 measures which must respond to strategic challenges:
We have a plan for governing toruism collectively
Barcelona receives over 30 million visitors every year, a reality that means moving from a promotional strategy to another that opts for a comprehensive management of tourism, publicly-led and ensuring that tourist policies respond to the general interests of the city
Tourism requires a cross-cutting approach and a diverse range of tools, projects and players involved; coordinating and involving them are key to guaranteeing that the goals proposed under the Strategic Tourism Plan for 2020 can be achieved.
Given the global challenges that tourism raises, we in Barcelona wish to strengthen our ties with other cities and destinations, to share experiences and embark on collective projects that enable us to tackle these challenges.
We have a plan for generating and disseminating knowledge
Knowledge in the field of urban tourism is essential for managing and taking decisions. We in Barcelona are only too aware of its importance. Considerable effort has been made to generate and publish a diverse range of information on tourist activities and studies have been conducted analysing economic impact, tourist profiles and public perceptions of tourism, among other things.
This knowledge needs broadening on issues such as environmental costs and quality of jobs in the sector, and the public has to be provided with better information on tourism. The Tourism Observatory will be coordinating and spearheading this research.
We have a plan for promoting the destination's sustainability
Sustainability is a crucial element for destination Barcelona, a goal that also aims to guarantee the competitiveness of tourist activities, to avoid jeopardising the destination's future, to improve the quality of urban life and to manage the impact of tourist activity, ensuring social return and the territory’s development.
The Strategic Plan understands sustainability from a broad perspective: social, economic and environmental, setting out a dynamic, welcoming, innovative and desirable destination on a metropolitan scale. Promotion tools, conceived as another management element, have to respond to these goals.
We have a plan for managing tourist mobility
Tourist uses of mobility, along with tourist accommodation and attractions, are one of the key aspects we propose to tackle.
We need to know our visitors’ reasons for staying here, their journeys’ seasonal variations and duration, the means of transport they use and their most frequent itineraries, so we can rethink, manage and regulate the specific practices of tourist mobility. The plan aims to put special emphasis on knowledge and managing mobility in crowded spaces such as Sagrada Família and Park Güell.
We have a plan to ensure responsible tourist accomodation
Barcelona has recorded a sharp increase in tourist accommodation offers over the last few years and the sudden appearance of new types, raising new challenges for planning. The plan provides for the launching of strategies that ensure tourist accommodation has a better relationship with its environment, promote its social and environmental responsibility and highlight good practices.
Approved under the framework of this strategy, the Special Urban Development Plan for Tourist Accommodation (PEUAT) continues to ensure social and economic balance in areas with greater tourist pressure while putting the priority on maintaining and attracting the resident population and preventing tourist accommodation from replacing the residential use of properties.
It also provides for active policies for fighting illegality, in collaboration with websites offering tourist accommodation, as well as the creation of a mediation service to help local residents and tourists staying in local accommodation live side by side.
We have a plan for ensuring an urban balance
Tourist activities make intensive use of certain places and neighbourhoods in the city and this has to be reconciled with the city’s ongoing, everyday life.
These areas will see the implementation of a series of measures and tools agreed to between all the public and private players, who will intervene to reduce the pressure created by large numbers of visitors and maintain the local commercial network. Policies will be implemented to counteract pressure on the property market.
We will be generating a new stable management model for crowded spaces which applies improvements agreed to between the various parties and creates wealth that is fairly and sustainably distributed.
We have a plan for redistributing the benefits of tourism
Ensuring the redistribution of the wealth brought by tourism for the entire population is one of the goals of the Strategic Plan. If we are to achieve that we need to take advantage of the developmental potential of tourism as a lever for launching other economic sectors, helping to strengthen the territory’s production network and integrating tourist activities into local economic development.
Initiatives are also needed for ensuring quality, inclusive, innovative and competitive jobs in the tourist sector, such as promoting establishments that create stable work conditions or launching initiatives for training and providing qualifications for the professionals providing services to the tourist industry.
Communication and Welcome
We have a plan to make communication a key tourism-management tool
Tourists coming to Barcelona do so largely because of the way we show them the city and its attractions. Having a good communication strategy is essential if we are to make tourism a sustainable and responsible activity that involves residents and visitors alike.
We need to expand our narratives on destination Barcelona, making them more diverse and dynamic in order to open up the range of possibilities for visitors beyond the city's crowd-pulling icons. We also need to coordinate the city’s tourist-communication tools, so that they respond to the goal of ensuring a sustainable destination.
The plan aims to have an impact on the information tourists receive before their stay in the city and to strengthen exchange channels before, during and after their stay.
Taxes and funding
We have a plan for compensating the impact that tourism has
What does tourism cost Barcelona? What economic benefits does it entail? The balance between costs and benefits has to be calculated and analysed if we are to know what expense tourism represents out of the municipal coffers and what activities create more or less income and expenditure.
The plan provides for designing a tourist-tax investment and funding plan, exploring other tax measures as management tools and taxing activities that cause more externalities and which affect daily life in the city: intense use of public space, property pressure, environmental impact, among other things. In short, this is about having more planning tools at our disposal that also ensure a fairer redistribution.
Regulation and planning
We have a plan for the regulations to safeguard the right to the city
The plan strengthens resources for inspecting and pursuing illegality, especially in the realm of accommodation, and provides for reviewing urban-planning tools to tackle the effects of tourist activities on the city, from metropolitan to neighbourhood scales.
The last few years have seen the rise of completely new phenomena linked to the city’s tourists uses, which current byelaws do not cover. That is why they need to be changed and new ones established where needed, such as economic activities in spaces with greater volumes of visitors or unregulated offers of accommodation.