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Barcelona has to regulate tourism, says lobby

Increase in council tax for tourist apartments, as well as tourist surcharge, proposed by Barcelona Global

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21 March 2018 01:36 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The non-profit association, Barcelona Global, has proposed an increase in the city’s council tax on buildings that are completely made up of tourist apartments, as well as introducing a surcharge to the current tourist tax. At a summit held on Wednesday, the organization stated that this would “improve the relationship of tourism” with the city.

At the first Barcelona Global Summit, heads of the group made up of leading companies, research centres and more, also defended the benefits that tourism creates. However, it admitted that there are elements that need to be corrected. These include mass-tourism, as well as problems between residents and visitors. The homogenization of Barcelona was also touched on, as well as the sustainability of its tourist model.

“The managing of tourist flats is something that Barcelona has to apply,” said Barcelona Global’s president, Gonzalo Rodés. “It has to start to regulate tourism,” he went on to say.

Taxing tourism

Regarding the tourist tax, Barcelona Global suggested that it be increased in order to raise six million more euros, that should be set aside to create a Culture Support Fund managed by a public and private association. 

  • “The managing of tourist flats is something that Barcelona has to apply"

    Gonzalo Rodés · President of Barcelona Global

The lobby therefore recommended the creation of a platform called ‘Barcelona is Music’ in order to make the capital a more attractive destination for lovers of harmonized sound. This would help contribute to bringing visitors to the city in the low season.  

“We are looking at the best practices in other cities in order to be able to apply them to Barcelona,” Rodés said.

Holiday flats vs. residents’ abodes

The increase in council tax for buildings solely dedicated to tourist apartments was justified by the “greatest profitability of this activity” in relation to residential use.

The money gained by this rise in taxes should be used to finance social housing programs, “which are more necessary today than ever,” according to Barcelona Global.

A limit to the number of tourists per apartment and the duration of stays were also proposed at the summit.

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  • Tourists in the centre of Barcelona (by ACN)

  • Tourists in the centre of Barcelona (by ACN)