Barcelona is taking steps to better control the movements and sizes of organized tourist groups, Source: Ajuntament de Barcelona

Barcelona limits the sizes of tourist groups

Barcelona limits the sizes of tourist groups

This and other good practices have been set as new standards for the tourism industry with a view to minimizing inconvenience for the locals

The Barcelona City Hall has revised and updated an agreement with local tour guide associations with the aim of sustainably managing the tourist flows to the city. The guidelines in the agreement stipulate the steps to be taken so that mass tourism will not cause disruption of daily life for the residents there.

The main points include the limitation of tourist groups to less than 30 people and the adaptation of their size to the urban spaces they visit. Another requirement is the use of radio guidance systems (of the so-called whisper system) and the commitment on part of the guides not to use megaphones and to reduce noise and noise pollution. If the guiding activities are carried out on public transport, it must always be done with the use of a radio guide system and following an agreement with the transport operators.

Other good practices for mass tourism

Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations on a global scale. Together with other European cities, such as Amsterdam and Venice, it has been constantly searching for ways to balance the increased inflows of tourists, and the money they bring, with the impact they cause on local resources. And to do it in a way that doesn’t degrade the local character of the places for the communities living there.

With the revised agreement, the city authorities are exacting firmer commitments from tour guide companies to show concern for the urban environment and the daily life unfolding on its streets. In fact, tourism overcrowding has been cited as a barrier that creates inaccessibility to public spaces for local residents.

In that regard, the guides will have to ensure that 50% of the pedestrian streets width will remain free for other people. Special attention has been paid to the Ciutat Vella medieval district of Barcelona, which attracts a lot of tourism, yet also counts with the narrowest streets.

In that district, the tour guides can only lead groups of no more than 15 people. Likewise, many of the streets there will be converted to one-way streets for tourism groups in order to create a seamless flow.

There is a commitment to revise the agreement after one year to incorporate the improvements that are considered appropriate and to ensure a good fit between organized tourism and neighbourhood life. 



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