Tourist bane

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Travel -

TOURISM has be­come the main is­sue of con­cern for Barcelona's res­i­dents ahead of un­em­ploy­ment, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey pub­lished by the city hall of the pop­u­lar sea­side re­sort. Ris­ing ren­tal prices, noise and crowds jostling for space in the streets, the dis­ap­pear­ance of tra­di­tional, ev­ery­day stores have all be­come ir­ri­tants for those who still live in the cen­tral dis­tricts of the Mediter­ranean city, which gets mil­lions of vis­i­tors every year.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, tourism in this 1.6-mil­lion-strong city was con­sid­ered a prob­lem by 19% of the 800 peo­ple polled, over­tak­ing un­em­ploy­ment and work­ing con­di­tions, which came in at 12.4% and had since 2009 al­ways been the top con­cern.

“This isn't a prob­lem of ‘tourist pho­bia’, peo­ple in Barcelona like to travel and ap­pre­ci­ate peo­ple visit­ing,” said Deputy Mayor Ger­ardo Pis­arello.

“It's about a con­crete malaise caused by over­crowd­ing in cer­tain dis­tricts.”

Last year, nine mil­lion tourists spent at least one night in Barcelona's ho­tels. But ac­cord­ing to the city hall, this fig­ure shoots up to 30 mil­lion if other ren­tal op­tions such as Airbnb are taken into ac­count, as well as those who stay in the sub­urbs.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Co­lau, a for­mer anti-evic­tion hous­ing ac­tivist, has taken mea­sures to try and ease the sit­u­a­tion.

Author­i­ties have banned the open­ing of new ho­tels in the cen­tre and fined home ren­tal plat­forms Airbnb and Home­away €600,000

(RM2.948mil) for mar­ket­ing lodg­ings that lacked per­mits to host tourists.

How­ever tourism is one of the city's main en­gines for growth, gen­er­at­ing 14% of its eco­nomic wealth and 65,000 di­rect jobs. – AFP Re­laxnews

If you’re trav­el­ling next year, prices are ex­pected to rise. — AFP

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