Tourism in Barcelona

Sweet summertime in Barcelona! Sunshine, beach days, and tourists, flocks and flocks of tourists. You can’t really go anywhere no matter how much of a local spot it is without seeing families, friends, or large groups on holiday. The beaches and streets went from already being busy to being packed with barely any room to walk.

Just how is tourism affecting Barcelona?

Ever since the Olympic Games were hosted here in 1992, Barcelona has greatly benefited. Barcelona is a great example of how a city can quickly develop a tourism industry after the Olympics. The benefits of this would of course be money. Money from tourism has resulted in new jobs, new roads, buildings, restaurants and many more good things. Today, about 14% of Barcelona’s economy is made up of tourism.

Some people argue that Barcelona’s boom in tourism is great for the city because it brings money. Other locals argue that “drunken tourism” is giving the city a bad reputation. There are countless noise incidents, public urination, and nudity complaints across the city which of course bothers the locals. The mayor as well as the city council are trying their hardest to prevent these things and make the locals happy. The city council has already banned bar crawls and public nudity. They are now trying to control the booze cruises that go out along the mediterranean as they also cause quite the disruption.

Locals argue that many people just come to Barcelona for the all night partying. The mayor hopes to control that because there are many amazing things to see in Barcelona. She also believes that there is no such thing as “drunken tourism”, however myself and many Catalans  would disagree. For example, walking through a neighborhood such as El Born, there are banners hanging from residences’ balconies saying “STOP THE NOISE”. They are tired of this “drunken tourism”. Catalans are also faced with thousands upon thousands of students any given semester coming to study and party. Clubs stay open until sunrise, there is no downtime here.

However, the “drunken tourism” has its advantages. People argue that it reflects the city’s atmosphere and liveliness, and as we previously discussed, it brings revenue.

Tourism (especially in the summertime) has taken over Barcelona. There is even an art exhibit about it! Check out the art exhibit TouristsBCN Saturday June 18 at Barcelona Visions Gallery in El Born. This exhibit shows “tiny” tourists (dolls) posing for photos in front of La Sagrada Familia, The W Hotel, and many more tourist attractions. The artist behind this spunky idea is Paul Davies. He is an artist and architect who studied at Oxford University and now lives and works here in Barcelona.

So to all of you locals- yes tourism can be difficult. BUT, it does have its benefits! Best of luck to you maneuvering through the crowds! And remember soon enough high tourism season will be over. Stay cool and enjoy your summer!