TOURISTS on a day trip to Barcelona who are not planning an overnight visit could soon have to pay a tax to visit the city, a councillor announced this week.
A left wing city councillor, under new mayor Ada Colau, is searching for new means in raising revenue from the millions of tourists who visit Barcelona every year but who don’t spend the night there. Gala Pin confirmed on Friday April 29 that the city was looking into a “tourist tax”.
The idea was first rejected in January when the council put forward that a ‘day-tripper tax’ would help “share the benefits” of the tourist sector throughout the city whilst “offsetting the costs”.
The idea is particularly focused on cruise line passengers and those travelling for the day with a tour company who spend a couple of hours before moving on. In the case of bus tours, an increased parking fee or road toll would be the method use to impose the tax.
On Thursday April 28 Councillor Pin reported on the economic impact of cruise ships on the city and the port.
The findings show that cruise ships generate €800 million per year, adding €413 million to Catalonia’s GDP – €152 million in taxes and also provides employment for 7,000 full-time workers.
This is surely profitable enough you might think, however the tax only applies to those ships docked in the port for over 12 hours, whereas liners that stay for less time pay nothing.
Although still at the proposal stage, councillors are keen to make-up for the impacts tourism has on the city.
Gala Pin, reported in January that tourists are expensive for the city: “not only in terms of infrastructure, cleaning and security but also in terms of the floating population that is causing the indirect expulsion of local people…”
In recent years there has been a wave of anti-tourism sentiment amongst locals and councillors from the city. A hugely popular city, Barcelona is always a city tourism hotspot within Europe. Locals argue that the tourists have been causing various problems, such as antisocial behaviour to pushing up rent prices and forcing locals out of the centre of the city.