Barcelona mayor backs limiting cruise ship passengers or reducing number of docks

City council and port authorities start negotiations to decrease number of one-day travelers

Barcelona mayor Jaume Collboni with deputy mayors Laia Bonet and Albert Batlle.
Barcelona mayor Jaume Collboni with deputy mayors Laia Bonet and Albert Batlle. / Maria Pratdesaba

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

May 24, 2024 12:49 PM

May 24, 2024 05:44 PM

Barcelona could limit the number of cruise ship passengers or even reduce the number of port terminals where these vessels dock, as the city mayor, Jaume Collboni, announced on Friday morning during a press conference by the sea.

However, one of the foreseen and already on-the-table goals of the city council is to reduce the number of one-day passengers, those who just visit the city for a few hours before boarding the cruise in the afternoon.

With this plan, the city council has already started talks with the Port de Barcelona authorities to sign a new agreement that could include "the removal of a terminal in the future, if necessary," Laia Bonet, deputy mayor, said.

Despite the announcement, there is no specific date for the signing of the new agreement.

The last agreement was signed in 2018 to move the terminals away from the city center, but it did not prevent the number of cruise passengers from increasing.

In 2018, the city received 2.6 million travelers, while in 2023, the number increased to 3.6 million.

"The increase in number of cruise passengers is around 8% annually. I want to say, we are reaching a limit, and we need to put a cap on the figure," Collboni said. 


At the same time, he mentioned Venice and Amsterdam as an example that already limits the number of tourist boats. 

Barcelona is the first European port and the fourth in the world in terms of cruise passengers. There are currently five terminals in operation, one under construction and a seventh planned, and a new increase in cruise passengers is expected by 2024.

The mayor has defended the city's importance to the tourist industry and said it is necessary to "limit the negative effects of overcrowding." 

"Tourism employs many people, but we want the quality of visitors to be the prevalent characteristic rather than the quantity of visitors," Collboni said.

"We can't look the other way", he added in reference to neighbors' complaints and certain social sectors about mass tourism.

The city council also backs regulating and limiting tourist apartments in the city center, which is under negotiations with other plenary political parties.