It has taken just a few years for Barcelona to become a tourist city. An estimated total of 28 million visitors annually to a city of little more than 1.6 million residents gives you a good idea of the city’s large capacity to attract, while it also shows the scale of the impact of tourism, which represents around 12% of its GDP and creates roughly 9% of the city’s jobs.
The activity's sustained growth has also stirred a public debate around its sustainability. The City Council has responded to this by launching the City and Tourism Council, a consultative and participatory body, and by drawing a new Strategic Tourism Plan (for 2020 to define the roadmap for tourist management over the coming years.
- To govern tourism, setting the rules of the game in order to achieve a balance in the city.
- To ensure the destination’s inalienable sustainability and to do so by adopting a broad approach, incorporating other fundamental criteria into environmental issues such as job quality and the strength of business relations with the local economic community.
- To promote a better social return on the economic activity generated, by activating multiplier effects so it can be extended to the entire city.
- Barcelona Strategic Tourism Plan for 2020
- Creation of the City and Tourism Council
- Special Urban Development Plan for Tourist Accommodation (PEUAT).
- Shock Plan for Combating Illegal Tourist-Use Housing (HUT).
- Tourist city conference for finding shared responses.
- Tourist mobility strategy.
- Agreement on good practices for tour guides in public spaces.
- Creation of the Tourism Observatory in Barcelona: City and Region.
- Planning Measures for Crowded Spaces (EGA).
- Agreements with holiday rental platforms.
- Government measure: Programme to maintain harmony between local residents and flats and other accommodation used by tourists.
- Tax on Stays in Tourist Establishments: increased contribution to the municipality (50% of the money collected), plus other money collected (cruises and tourist-use flats), to extend the areas of application to measures for mitigating the impact of tourism on the city.
- Amendment to the Byelaw on Pedestrian and Vehicle Traffic (approved on 26 May 2017) which determines other traffic situations where vehicles are used for an economic activity.
- District tourism management strategies.
- Destination tourism marketing strategy.