Barcelona, Spain passed a law in 2017 that attempts to curb the number of tourists coming into the city. Barcelona is one of the top destinations in the world. The city had 1.6 million residents in 2016 and 32 million tourists.
Tourists from every corner of the world come to Barcelona to enjoy its beauty, nightlife and culture.
And it’s a romantic getaway.
New Law After 25 Years of Promotion
Barcelona introduced a new law to help reduce the number of tourists after residents complained of being overwhelmed by travelers. “Excessive and unsustainable,” the number of tourists led to residents protesting, with signs stating “Barcelona isn’t for sale.”
Property speculation has led to sky-high housing prices that are pushing residents out of the city. Tourist jobs, the most common in Barcelona, are also low paying.
The special urban plan law seeks to limit the number of tourist apartments and the number of beds in hotels. Licenses for tourist apartments and a moratorium on new hotels will also be in place.
The law will not start to impact tourism until 2019, with exceptions made for hotels already in the pipeline.
Barcelona’s hotels have a 75,000-bed capacity with 50,000 legal tourist apartments and just as many illegal tourist apartments.
Where to Explore and Travel Before the Impact
Tourists planning for more than a day trip in Barcelona will be impacted by higher occupancy rates in hotels. Limiting the number of beds and tourist apartments will make booking a trip in advance even more important.
Tourists planning to stay in the city in 2018 will want to make the most of their trip.
Festivals to Explore
Festivals are a major part of Barcelona and the culture in Spain. Tourists hoping to be part of festivals have a lot of options:
The Epiphany festival runs from January 5 – 6, and it’s a religious festival dedicated to the arrival of the three kings. A festival ignored in most other parts of the world, Epiphany includes a grande parade, floats, clowns, elves, acrobatics and treats for kids.
Dia de Sant Jordi
One of the most colorful festivals in all of Spain, the Dia de Sant Jordi is on April 23 and has some of the most colorful flowers in Barcelona. It’s a time of romance, and ordering flower delivery right to a hotel room is the norm.
Men are supposed to purchase a rose for their damsels, while women are supposed to buy men books.
The Cruilla Festival occurs in July and is a non-stop music festival in the capital. The music fest takes part all across the city, with artists from across the world enjoying the fun. The festival always brings some of the world’s best-known artists to Barcelona.
Barcelona will still welcome tens of millions of tourists annually, but the new law will have an impact on bookings. Residents are hopeful that the new law will allow for fewer tourists, easier commutes, and lower housing prices, which have risen greatly over the past 25 years.