Is Barcelona suffering from an overdose of tourism?

According to a new documentary, Catalonia’s capital has become “a theme park”.  So many tourists are visiting the city that life for local residents has deteriorated to an intolerable level and the city is at risk of losing its unique centre as it sells itself to holiday makers.

Bye Bye Barcelona for just under an hour argues that the problem isn’t individual, red-bellied tourists loudly drinking their way around the town (although the inclusion of a photojournalism essay may suggest otherwise).  Instead it’s the rapid speed the industry has expanded across this relatively small city - an unmanaged consequence of a triumphant Olympic rebranding in 1992.  In 1990 a mere 1.7 million tourists visited the city.  In 2013 more than 8 million are expected to dock into Port Vell or disembark from a low-price RyanAir plane.  Barcelona is now the fourth most popular European city for tourists, after London, Paris and Rome.

This meteoric rise in the number of tourists has delivered reassuringly high economic figures in the midst of an economic crisis where the local level of unemployment is around 20%.   The industry now accounts for 12% of the region’s GDP, creating, the film asserts, 100,000 jobs - that’s between 18 and 22 millions Euros profit a day.

To read the rest of Chris Finnigan's story, follow this link.  http://blogs.elpais.com/trans-iberian/2014/05/is-barcelona-suffering-from-an-overdose-of-tourism.html

 

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