It has taken just a few years for Barcelona to become a tourist city. An estimated total of 28 million annual visitors to a city of just 1.6 million residents is not only a good indication of the city’s enormous capacity to attract, but it also reflects the scale of the impact of tourism, which represents around 14% of its GDP and provides jobs for more than 150,000 people.
The activity's sustained growth has also stirred a public debate around its sustainability. The City Council’s response has been to launch the City and Tourism Council, a consultative and participatory body in the area of tourism, and by drawing up the 2020 Strategic Tourism Plan, which contains the roadmap for tourist management in the city.
- To govern tourism, setting the rules of the game 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 the best social return on the economic activity generated by activating multiplier effects to extend this 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).
- Networking with tourist cities to find common solutions.
- Tourist mobility strategy.
- Agreement on good practices for tour guides in public spaces.
- Promotion of the Tourism Observatory in Barcelona: City and Region.
- Organisational measures for crowded spaces (EGA).
- Agreements with holiday rental platforms.
- Mediation programme between local residents and flats and other accommodation used by tourists.
- Tax on stays in tourism establishments: increased contribution to the municipality with the launch of a new tariff and redefinition of how this income is used.
- Amendment to the Byelaw on Pedestrian and Vehicle Traffic (approved on 26 May 2017) which sets out alternative traffic provisions for when vehicles are used for an economic activity.
- District tourism management strategies.
- Destination tourism marketing strategy.
- Coaching for business initiatives in the area of responsible tourism.