Barcelona is trying to balance its tourism appeal with the needs of its local residents, Source: Pixabay

Barcelona to limit the size of tour groups

Barcelona to limit the size of tour groups

The amended regulation is supposed to enter into force in March 2023

Starting from 1 March 2023, tour guides in Barcelona can only lead tourist groups that do not exceed 20 members. The measure is specifically aimed at limiting the harmful tourism impact on the daily life of residents in the old town quarter known as Ciutat Vella.

The new ordinance represents an update to the initial regulation, which stated that groups could have up to 30 people but only up to 15 in certain areas. Given the complications that would cause tour operators in organizing the logistics, the city authorities decided to amend the rule to a more compromising number.

The law stipulates other restrictions, too

The decree is something "never seen before" and this is why the city council set a six-month validity. Officials preferred for summer to be part of this trial, therefore the decree will be in force from March until September when a new decree will come into effect indefinitely.

"We are telling official tour guides in which way they have to work to respect our streets and squares," explained Jordi Rabassa, a councillor from the old town district, as quoted by Catalan News. The idea of the City Council is to maintain a balance between the tourism industry and the neighbourhood’s economic and social lives.

On 1 March, a campaign will be launched to explain the new decree and the possible sanctions that range from 1,500 to 3,000 euros in the cases of infractions. According to media sources, however, the rule for one-way street direction for groups will be scrapped.

The city decree also means that tour guides will have to spend less time giving explanations at monuments in order to prevent human traffic jams. As the old town quarter has narrow streets and small squares, each of the squares will also have a defined capacity of how many tour groups there can be simultaneously at any moment. For example, the Placa de la Barceloneta can only host one group at a time.

Once officially in place, tour guides will have to use audio guides and confirm they will not use loudspeakers in order to reduce noise pollution. 



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