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Catalonia’s population doubles in summer

Some 16 million people visiting the country every year calls for a sustainable model of tourism


20 July 2017 10:31 PM


Núria Torres, Helle Kettner | Salou

A country of almost 7.5 million inhabitants welcoming 16 million visitors every year, almost half of them in summer, has its difficulties. Residents in Barcelona, for example, have already begun to complain about the mass tourism in their city.

Having a lot of tourists is not the problem

That is why Catalonia is looking to promote quality tourism to make the coexistence of locals and holidaymakers more sustainable for both parties. The Catalan Minister of Business and Knowledge Santi Vila, in a meeting with mayors and other city council representatives in the coast town of Salou on Thursday, stressed that “the problem is not having a lot of tourists, but passing ordinances that we later do not fulfill.” In working for sustainable tourism, the minister insisted on the importance of not only promoting tourism, but making sure it is managed.

Tourist tax to balance impact

One of the initiatives implemented in Catalonia to balance the impact of visitors with the needs of locals is the tourist tax, which has already brought in 48 million euros. The tax, implemented on November 1 2012, was created to fund promotion, preservation and infrastructure development, as well as policies on tourist activity.

A step forward

According to the minister, Catalonia stands strong when it comes to tourism. However, now it is time for the country to take the next step, he argued. “A step that will let Catalonia ride the wave in terms of modernization and new opportunities in this digital economy we are living in. It is necessary for the private sector, administrations and academia to work together for this vector of progress,”  he concluded.


  • Tourist at La Boqueria market in Barcelona (by Patrícia Mateos)

  • Tourist at La Boqueria market in Barcelona (by Patrícia Mateos)