Spain: Barcelona in danger because of mass tourism?

Title : Spain: Barcelona in danger because of mass tourism?
Keywords : Barcelona, ​​Spain, mass tourism, danger
Summary : The article discusses the negative effects of mass tourism on the city of Barcelona in Spain, highlighting issues such as overpopulation, pollution and gentrification.

Barcelona, ​​the jewel of Catalonia, is teetering under the weight of mass tourism. Incessant streams of visitors flock in search of its treasures, but at what cost to the city? Plunged into an identity crisis, she fights to preserve her soul in the face of this surging wave.

A city overwhelmed by visitors

Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, attracts millions of visitors every year. In 2023, the city will welcome more than 12 million tourists. However, this incessant influx now threatens the quality of life of its inhabitants and endangers its economic and social balance.

The economic impact on residents

One of the most damning effects of overtourism is the dizzying increase in rents. According to Barcelona City Hall, prices have increased by 68% over the past decade. Many residents have to leave their neighborhoods, unable to keep up with this real estate inflation.

Local businesses in danger

Another visible consequence is the transformation of the commercial fabric. Local shops are gradually closing to give way to shops perceived as more lucrative for tourists. Isa Miralles, a 35-year-old musician living in Barceloneta, testifies: “Everyday businesses are closing to make way for a business model that does not correspond to the needs of the neighborhood. People can’t pay the rent, they have to leave.”.

The reaction of the inhabitants

Discontent is growing in Barcelona. On July 6, 2024, around 2,800 residents demonstrated against the mass tourism, chanting slogans like “tourists out of our neighborhoods!” » and carrying banners demanding immediate action.

Municipal measures to control the tourist flow

In response to this social pressure, Barcelona City Hall has announced that it wants to ban the rental of tourist apartments by 2029. The objective is to facilitate access to housing for permanent residents and to reduce the nuisance caused by intensive tourism. .

A national problem

Barcelona is not alone in this fight. Other Spanish regions, such as the Balearic Islands, the Canaries and cities in Andalusia like Malaga, are also seeing movements hostile to the overtourism gain momentum. With 85.1 million foreign visitors in 2023, Spain, which is the second largest tourist destination in the world, sees this phenomenon affecting multiple localities.

What solution for sustainable tourism?

Faced with this crisis, it is imperative that sustainable solutions be found, both to preserve the tourist appeal of the city and to guarantee an acceptable quality of life for its inhabitants. Barcelona’s economic model must evolve, integrating practices of sustainable tourism in order to reconcile local interests and tourist influx.