Barcelona is almost excellent –just a bit too crowded, say tourists

August 22, 2016 12:42 PM | ACN

A new poll shows that tourists in the Catalan capital gave the city a score of 8.6 on a scale of 0 to 10. An almost excellent result, which is, however, overshadowed by concerns by those same visitors that the city attracts way too many people. In fact, 58% of those that took part in the poll consider Barcelona’s tourist spots overcrowded. On summer Sundays, up to 20,000 people arrive in Barcelona by cruise ship. The figure will peak on the 11th of September, when up to 28,100 people are expected to arrive by sea. The tourism poll was conducted in 2015 in different tourist areas, hotels and airports and ports of Barcelona. From those taking part, 47.5% were visiting the city for the first time, and 52.5% had been there before.

'The torches of the Pyrenees', UNESCO element of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

December 1, 2015 11:07 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Although the candidature was presented by the Andorran government, there are Catalan, Spanish and French villages amongst the 63 municipalities from the Pyrenees which share the celebration of this festival. In fact its transversal nature was one of the most valuable points of the candidature, according to UNESCO's committee. On the night of the summer solstice, people carry flaming torches from the mountains to light traditionally constructed beacons. The descent is a special moment for young people, signifying the transition from adolescence to adulthood but also a time for regenerating social ties and strengthening feelings of belonging and identity. In 2010 UNESCO recognised another Catalan tradition, Catalan human towers, as one of the most genuine and unique cultural practices in Europe.

Unemployment in August decreases by 11.4% in annual terms

September 2, 2015 07:32 PM | ACN

Registered unemployment in Catalonia rose by 4,521 people during the month of August and totalled 506,306 according to statistics published on Wednesday by the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. However, the number of unemployed decreased by 11.43% compared to August 2014, which makes this month the best August since 1999. The monthly decline was caused mainly by the increase in unemployment in the services sector, which is to be expected considering that August marks the end of many seasonal contracts. The number of unemployed also increased in August in Spain as a whole, by 0.54%. The Spanish annual rate, however, was slightly less positive than the Catalan one, with unemployment in August decreasing by 8.13% in comparison with the same month last year. Overall, there are 21,679 more unemployed this month and the total number of people jobless in Spain is 4,067,955.

Tourist towns urge Catalan and Spanish governments to help them fight ‘top manta’

August 24, 2015 05:37 PM | ACN / N. Guisasola, L. Fíguls, L. Poblado and G. Sánchez

Illegal street trading, known in Catalonia as ‘top manta’, is an old and complex problem in many tourist towns in Catalonia. But councils feel alone and powerless when they try to deal with it. The recent death of Senegalese citizen Mor Sylla in Salou during a police operation against illegal vending has raised the alarms about a phenomenon that has economic, social and security implications. The mayors of Barcelona, Roses, Sitges and El Vendrell, some of the towns most adversely affected by this issue, have urged the Catalan and Spanish governments to intervene because this “is not a local problem” but a national, and even international one.

A record-breaking 2.3 million foreign tourists visit Catalonia in July

August 21, 2015 04:06 PM | ACN

Catalonia is experiencing a very positive tourism season. The number of foreign tourists visiting the country last month rose by 9.12% in comparison to July 2014 and totalled 2,340,299, the highest number since statistics from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism started. Gaudí, the magical beaches of the Costa Brava and the rural settings of the Pyrenees are attracting an increasing number of international tourists, whom are boosting business. Catalonia is, once again, the most visited Autonomous Community, attracting 26.6% of the total number of tourists visiting Spain.

Unemployment falls to 19.1% in Catalonia and 22.4% in Spain in June

July 23, 2015 09:23 PM | ACN

At the end of June there were 31,900 fewer jobseekers in Catalonia than in March and 44,200 less than a year ago, according to the Active Population Survey for the second quarter of the year released on Thursday. These figures mean Catalonia's total number of unemployed was 726,200 individuals and that the unemployment rate was 19.1% at the end of the second quarter. In March, the unemployment rate was 20.05%; in December, 19.88%; and in September, 19.1% as well, the same as for June of this year. In addition, the number of people with a job increased by 51,800 individuals between March and June, a 1.71% increase in quarterly terms. Compared to a year ago, in June there were 35,000 more people with a job than in June 2014. At Spanish level, unemployment also decreased during the second quarter of the year, with 295,600 fewer jobseekers registered, a 5.43% reduction on figures from March. In the whole of Spain, there were 5,149,000 people without a job and a 22.37% unemployment rate overall.

Summer tourist accommodations projected to be nearly full on Catalan coast; around 60% full inland

June 29, 2015 10:00 PM | ACN

The Catalan tourism sector expects a good season this summer in regard to occupancy of tourist accommodations, as reported to ACN by unions and employers in the country. Catalonia has attracted more tourists than any other region in Spain since the start of 2015, according to the Survey of Tourist Movements at Borders (Frontur), released by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Barcelona, with apartment occupancy around 85% and coastal regions of Girona – which is on the cusp of being full during August – are the areas that will attract the highest demand for tourist accommodations. The interior of Lleida expects occupancy to exceed 65%, while the Pyrenean part will be full the whole week of 15 August. As for Central Catalonia, occupation can swing between 60% and 80%, and in Tarragona it will depend on last-minute reservations.

Sant Joan's Eve sets Barcelona ablaze with energy

June 23, 2015 07:48 PM | Kyle Brown

Every year the sounds of fireworks popping and crackling perforate the air in Catalonia in the days leading up to Sant Joan's Eve (Nit de Sant Joan). The yearly festival culminates in a massive party on the night of 23 June, when locals celebrate the holiday by setting off mass amounts of fireworks and igniting bonfires, known in Catalan as 'fogueres'. At midnight, there is a spectacular fireworks display, marking the climax of the celebration. The bonfires of Sant Joan have special meaning for Catalan-speaking regions, and the festival is considered a Catalan national holiday. The tradition as it exists today traces its roots back to pagan rituals and coincides with the summer solstice, marking the beginning of the summer.

Barcelona's performing arts summer festival Grec to be opened by Catalan dance company La Veronal

April 17, 2015 09:46 PM | ACN

Barcelona's summer Festival Grec is the city’s main yearly event for theatre, dance, music, circus and other stage arts, taking place from the 1st to the 31st of July. On Wednesday, the Festival's Director, Ramon Simó, announced that the dance show 'Vorònia' by Catalan company La Veronal will open the event, also disclosing some of the shows in the 2015 programme. This year, the Grec will celebrate its 39th edition and by now it has become a milestone on the European festival calendar. The event’s title is taken from its main venue: the Greek Theatre, on Montjuïc, an open-air theatre built for the 1929 Universal Exhibition. In total, last year's edition attracted 127,471 people, of which 79,254 went to see shows which required payment (79 in total).