Busting the boom: why Barcelona wants to curb mass tourism

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By Hans von der Brelie
Busting the boom: why Barcelona wants to curb mass tourism

Barcelona is booming. A little too booming for many of its inhabitants and city officials who have taken measures to clamp down on a surge of tourism that is overwhelming its streets and public services.

All these tourists end up drunk; they piss in the doorways of buildings and in the staircases. Residents trip over drunken people lying on the stairs. It's all about pissing in the streets, vomiting at bus stops

The Catalonia capital has long been a top destination in Europe, but its popularity exploded a few years ago with the advent of internet tourism platforms such as Airbnb. It has resulted in a huge increase in cheap accommodation, with private properties being transformed into tourist apartments, many illegal and unregulated. In some parts of the city they now vastly outnumber hotel rooms.

Booze and bad behaviour

It’s estimated that some 7.5 million visitors will stay at least one night in the city this year – over four times the population of Barcelona. Making matters worse, young revellers are flocking to the Spanish resort in ever-increasing numbers and their drunkenness and bad behaviour is horrifying local residents of the popular neighbourhoods where they stay.

While tourism is vital to the local economy many in the city are saying enough is enough. In this edition of Reporter Hans von der Brelie meets Barcelona citizens with contrasting perspectives on this complex and divisive problem.

Click on the video to see his report.


Josep Oliver: on the trail of illegal tourist apartments

Barcelona-based private detective Josep Maria Oliver tracks down illegal tourist flats. Oliver explains all about the shady schemes and structures behind the illicit renting business. To see the full interview (in Catalan) you can use this link.

Manel Martínez: We are invaded by drunken tourists

In the former fisherman’s district of La Barceloneta, euronews met Manel Martinez, from a neighbourhood association protesting against illegal tourist flats, rising rents and daily problems with drunken tourist hordes in Barcelona. Here is the link to the full interview (in Spanish).

Elizabeth Casañas: We are the scapegoats

In Barcelona, euronews met Elizebeth Casañas, President of PPVT (Plataforma Pro Viviendas Turísticas), an association of private tourism rental owners. She speaks out against what she sees as a witch hunt: legal private owners should not be used as scapegoats for political mistakes.