The largest ice-skating rink in Europe opens in downtown Barcelona to attract shoppers
The ice rink has been fully funded by the private retail sector. It aims to attract locals and visitors to Barcelona city centre in the hope that consumers will spend more in the Christmas period. Catalunya Square is the location for the largest ice-skating rink of its kind in Europe. The attraction has caused controversy because it occupies public space for a private activity in a time of serious economic difficulties.
Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona has a new attraction this Christmas: an ice-skating rink in the heart of the city at Catalunya Square. It has been set up under a transparent tent in order to maintain the cold temperature constant and protect it from the rain. The venue is considered the largest ice rink of its kind in Europe. It has been compared to the world famous Rockefeller Centre ice-skating rink, however Barcelona\u2019s is more than twice as big. It is fully funded by retail shops in Barcelona city centre, and there is also an entrance fee. The aim is to entice shoppers to spend in Barcelona city centre. They expect it to become an attraction for both locals and tourists. Representatives from retail shops in the city believe the ice rink will place the Catalan capital alongside cities that are already reference points for Christmas shopping, such as Paris, Milan or New York. It was unveiled last Saturday and will close on January 8th.
The ice-skating rink cost less than \u20AC700,000, according to Salvador Albuixech, President of the \u2018Barcelona Comerç\u2019 Foundation, which includes more than 10,000 retail shops throughout the Catalan capital. It is being fully funded by Barcelona retail shops and also with the added help of an entrance fee. 30 minutes costs \u20AC6 and one hour is \u20AC8. 6,000 people have already enjoyed the attraction in its opening weekend.
A controversial ice rink
The ice-skating rink has caused controversy because it will occupy a public square for over a month and an entrance fee is being charged. In addition, it occupies Catalunya Square, where the \u2018indignados\u2019 used to assemble (the demonstrators protesting against how the financial crisis is being handled, who started their protest on May 15th in Madrid and Barcelona squares). Furthermore, despite it being fully paid for by the private retail sector, some consider building it to be inappropriate in the current economic climate.