There’s a really interesting documentary on YouTube called, “Bye bye, Barcelona”, which talks all about the tourism sector and its affect on the city today. Here is the link:
Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe, in fact, only London, Paris, and Rome welcomed in more tourists each year. The most recent studies carried out by the Barcelona Turisme Board showed that just over 8 million people were visiting each year. Of course those numbers reflect the number of visitors seeking accommodation in one of the city’s hotels. Tourism brought by cruise ships and staying in other available housing does not count into that total.
Which brings us to the issue the city council is currently fighting. Illegal tourist apartments. Most of this falls on Air BnB, but that is mainly to do with its popularity. We use Air BnB like we use Kleenex for all tissues or Jacuzzi for all Hottubs. There are plenty of other similar sites offering illegal tourist apartments; and Barcelona is trying to put a stop to this.
One of the most recent measures has been to place a 600,000€ fine on the company. Other measures have been to implement more people into an already growing number of “Apartment Detectives” that try to uncover the unknown tourist apartments which measure to be in the thousands.
Because of this Barcelona seems to be getting a lot of slack as an “Anti-tourism” city. This is not the case. The mayor, Ada Colau, explains the situation herself in and interview with Al Jazeera network. You can fast forward to about the 8 minute mark to hear her take, the talk about tourism runs for about 8 minutes itself.