Barcelona residents are saying enough to the mass amounts of tourists pouring into the top destination city along Spain’s northeastern coastline and have called on officials to take counteractive measures.
As tourist rates once again near pre-pandemic levels, locals are pushing back with signs reading, “Go home” and “Tourism kills neighborhoods” sprawling across city districts, including major sightseeing locations like the La Rambla boulevard and the city’s opera house, reported Reuters Friday.
The push to limit the number of tourists able to pour into the Mediterranean city, particularly by cruise ship, comes as Spaniards gear up for local and regional elections set for Sunday.
A man ties protest banners in the balcony of a building that was recently converted for tourist use at Sants neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain, May 19, 2023. The banner reads, “No more tourist flats.” (REUTERS/Albert Gea)
A couple take selfies in a crowed Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, May 24, 2023. (REUTERS/Albert Gea)
Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city, with 1.6 million inhabitants as of 2019, though it saw some 30 million visitors that same year, including day trippers, who often stop off as cruise ships dock for the day.
Spain was the second most visited country in Europe behind France ahead of COVID lockdowns.
People wait for taxis after disembarking from the Wonder of the Seas cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International at the Terminal C of Barcelona’s harbour on July 24, 2022. (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)
Barcelona’s mayor has set to ensure visitors who are interested in the coastal city that it still welcomes tourists, but that visitors need to be better managed for the benefit of the city and its residents.
“We welcome tourism, but we need to grow other strategic sectors,” she said.