ADA COLAU, Barcelona’s soon-to-be new mayor, says she intends to limit the amount of tourists visiting the Catalonian city, in a bid to “stop the city becoming Venice”.
“If we don’t want to end up like Venice, we will have to put some kind of limit in Barcelona,” the anti-austerity protester reiterated. Having won the most council seats in last month’s local election with Barcelona en Comú, she told El País newspaper on Monday, that,
“We can grow more, but I don’t know how much more.”
In 2013, 7.57 million tourists visited Spain’s second largest city and over six million of those came from countries outside of Spain. Colau wants to balance the interests of the tourism sector with those of the Barcelona residents, and it is with this in mind that her new administration plans to put in place what she calls a “saturation limit.”
“We have to put a moratorium in place regarding new hotels and tourist apartments, carry out a census and create a preventive policy before things get out of hand, as has occurred in Ciutat Vella,” Colau said, referring to the old quarter of the city. In recent times, Barcelona has become a number one city break destination, and with it has come a host of unwanted rowdy behavior, which has caused anger amongst locals.
A photograph of three young men running naked through the streets of Barceloneta emerged online last August. The men, who were believed to be Italian tourists, demonstrated the oftentimes out of control side of the tourism that has descended upon the once traditional city streets.
Barceloneta Residents Association president Oriol Casabella, said: “This has begun to look like Magaluf.”