LifestyleBarcelona pushes back on cruise ship tourism: City aims to slash visitor numbers by half

Barcelona pushes back on cruise ship tourism: City aims to slash visitor numbers by half

The port in Barcelona has been one of the busiest in Europe for many years.
The port in Barcelona has been one of the busiest in Europe for many years.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
5:23 PM EST, January 22, 2024

In 2019, an estimated 2.25 million cruise ship tourists docked at the port of Barcelona. The Cruise Lines International Association, representing cruise companies, anticipates this figure to surge even further this year. Last year, the tally just exceeded two million people, with French, American, and British tourists forming the most substantial groups.

A Pushback on Certain Tourists

The local residents of Barcelona perceive those who land in the city on opulent cruise ships as the least favored type of tourists. The city's mayor underscores, as quoted by Spanish daily "La Vanguardia", that these visitors aren't particularly interested in Barcelona's architectural marvels or artistic wonders. More often than not, they favor places like Passeig de Gracia, a high-end shopping strip. "They merely wander for four hours, then leave," he commented.

Government Interventions

The city authorities' plan entails a 50% reduction in the number of incoming cruise ship tourists, scaling down from 400K to 200K per month. The government asserts that if this doesn't materialize, they will initiate further amendments. These involve cutting down the number of available hotel beds and imposing legal restrictions to discourage new hotel constructions.

Recollect that in November 2022, Barcelona's city council enacted regulations to constrain the flood of tourists into the city. They concluded that a guided tour in the Old City should not exceed a contingent of 20 tourists.

In various city sections, including tourist-frequented squares such as Sant Jaume, Pi, Reial, and Rei, a cap was placed on the quantity of guide-led groups. Furthermore, the use of loudspeakers by tour guides was forbidden on Barcelona properties.

Cruise ships appear almost every day in the port of Barcelona.
Cruise ships appear almost every day in the port of Barcelona.© Adobe Stock
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