Council’s plans for touristic accommodation approved in March
The municipal council has approved the Special Urban-Development Plan for Touristic Accommodation (PEUAT). The PEAUT regulates tourist accommodation establishments, as well as youth hostels, collective residences with temporary accommodation and tourist apartments. The council is trying to convene a sustainable urban model while improving the quality of life for city residents. For instance, this plan includes forbidding the construction of new hotels in the city center. On Monday, the mayor, Ada Colau has presented the strategic tourism plan to find solutions on how to manage tourism.
Why was PEAUT implemented?
Every year, the number of tourist rises in Barcelona. Last year the city’s residents were outnumbered by an estimated 32 million visitors, about half of them were day-trippers. There are currently 75,000 hotel beds in the city; about 50,000 beds in legal tourist apartments and 50,000 in illegal ones. Furthermore, 17,000 flats are now tourist apartments; therefore, the resulting shortage has driven up rents that are now the highest in Spain.
According to a survey carried out by the city council in October, the city’s biggest problems is unemployment and tourism came at the second position. As a result, the council decided to manage Housing for Tourism (HUT). Therefore, to avoid an excessive number of HUT and guarantee a balanced territorial, a new license will be permitted in uncongested areas when a HUT ceases activity. However, this proposition has met fierce opposition from the tourism industry. Indeed, they claim that the law demonizes tourists and says that limiting growth can only hurt an already weak economy.
Finding the right balance between locals and tourists.
The action plan has established different measures; one of them being managing the flux of tourists by implementing taxes. As a result, there will be an extra cost for tourist who visit the city without spending the night. Also, people who use their apartment for touristic purposes will have to pay a higher amount of property tax (IBI). Indeed, the mayor Agustí Colom stated that “We have to find the right balance between the sectors which want to open the city up further to tourism and those that want to close it”; He also believe that this change needs to be implemented on a wider scale with other big cities of Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Palma, Bilbao…).
Barceloneta and Sagrada Familia as a first trial
Another point that has been raised was the measures on the «area of great influence (EGA)» to reduce the impact of tourism in these areas. Therefore, the Council decided to implement certain measures for this summer in la Barceloneta and la Sagrada Familia. These actions have been discussed with the environmental representative and, as a result, they may forbid the circulation of cars on busy streets during certain days of the week. Alternatively, they can reduce the circulation of scooters and Segways such as the previous summer.
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Source: la Vanguardia El País Catalonge