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‘A shabby mess’: Barcelona might ban ‘offensive’ and ‘tasteless’ souvenirs

This would include products that contain “homophobic or sexist” content.
This would include products that contain “homophobic or sexist” content. Copyright Chris Linnett
Copyright Chris Linnett
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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This would include products that contain “homophobic or sexist” content.


From phallic bottle openers to branded shot glasses, tacky souvenirs are never hard to find in a tourist hotspot. 

But one European city is looking to bring in regulations on just how tasteless these gifts can be. 

Barcelona city council is considering banning the display and sale of souvenirs that are “offensive or in bad taste”.

This would include products that contain “homophobic or sexist” content. 

One local councillor has called the stalls and shops touting these wares a “shabby mess” that “degrade” the city.

Barcelona souvenirs ‘degrade’ the city

Councillor Jordi Coronas has criticised the poor taste of souvenirs on display in the streets of Ciutat Vella, the oldest neighbourhoods in the city of Barcelona

These include "penises with the Barcelona brand and t-shirts with sexist, homophobic or simply bad taste messages. 

“[They] devaluethe most visited streets in Barcelona," Coronas said. “They are a shabby mess, which degrades the image of Barcelona as a tourist destination.”

Barcelona considers banning ‘tasteless’ souvenirs

Earlier this week, Coronas and other councillors put forward their proposal to regulate souvenirs

The motion by the pro-independence party Esquerra was approved by the economic commission of the city council, allowing them to look into prohibiting "offensive" souvenirs. 

It comes just a week before Pride celebrations will kick off in the city. 

Barcelona’s deputy mayor for economy, Jordi Valls, reportedly supports the initiative and has promised that the city government would examine ways to limit the display and sale of tasteless souvenirs. 

However, he cautioned that concrete rules would be difficult to bring in as current regulations cannot set any “regulatory criteria on the content or aesthetic quality of the souvenir.”

“It is difficult to standardise it because what is considered in bad taste is a matter of very high subjectivity,” he said.

Coronas has reportedly advocated for an “imaginative solution” to overcome difficulties in introducing the ban.

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