The tourist tax, a tool to make tourism compatible with neighbourhood life

Tourism. During the current term of office 22 million euros of the total amount raised has been used to improve spaces and services in the neighbourhoods.

The current term of office has seen 22 million euros from the tax on overnight stays in tourist accommodation (IEET) used for projects to give something back to the districts, with improvements to spaces and services for all citizens offsetting the negative effects of tourism in the city.

Last year was the first full year when the city controlled 50% of the total money raised by the tourist tax in city establishments, instead of the previous amount of 34%. In all, 2018 saw 9.6 million euros spent on the fight against illegal accommodation, improvement projects in the neighbourhoods, the promotion of culture and more.

This line of action meant extra bus services in 2017 and 2018 on regular routes operating to and from the city’s beaches (D20, V15 and 59), the plan for coexistence in Ciutat Vella, the plan for squares in Gràcia and civic officers to regulate areas with large volumes of people, such as Sagrada Família and Ciutat Vella.

Projects funded by the tourist tax include:

  • guided tours in Sants, Hostafrancs and La Bordeta, in the district of Sants-Montjuïc
  • remodelling of pedestrian areas in Pas sota la Muralla and Plaça de Pau Vila
  • paving and rearrangement of urban furniture on the section of Pl. Catalunya between Portal de l’Àngel and Les Rambles
  • projects to decentralise and strengthen culture, such as the project for the Casa de l’Aigua, in Trinitat Nova (Nou Barris)
  • completion of restoration work on the walls of the Sant Miquel chapel at the Monastery of Pedralbes
  • start of activities such as the Sónar Kids in Nou Barris.
  • improvements in the Parc de la Ciutadella
  • renewal of paving in C/ Sant Domènech
  • renewal of the service lane in Pl. Lesseps; extra signage at points of interest in the neighbourhood of Trinitat Vella
  • improved access and signage in the Collserola mountain range and the draft project for the spatial planning of its springs
  • the Llum BCN festival, the popular OBC concert on the beach in Barcelona
  • International Music Day
  • conditioning of the Torre de la Sagrera air-raid shelter
  • the Biennale of Thought
  • pilot scheme for signage at places of interest in Sant Andreu using accessible technology for people with disabilities

In June 2017 the decision was taken to set a limit of 4.5 million euros from the tourist tax as funding for the Barcelona Tourism Consortium. This funding has also been tied to the drafting of a joint work plan for Barcelona as a sustainable destination, which is currently being put together and which the Tourism Marketing Strategy for Destination Barcelona is part of.

A badge has been created and will gradually be implemented so that city residents and visitors can see which projects are funded by the tourist tax. The logo for the badge has been agreed on with the City Tourism Council and combines the city’s traditional panot paving stone design with the circular arrow representing the idea of return.