If local leaders get their way, the days of Barcelona being crowded with cruise ships will be over.
In an announcement this month, the regional government of Catalonia said it would introduce measures to limit liners arriving at its port. In May alone, 125 cruise ships docked in Spain.
That is not a good thing according to the mayor. The pressures of over-tourism have been a problem for Barcelona for a long time. The city had the highest levels of pollution from mega-ships in 2019. Their passengers arrive in large groups that cause spikes in congestion and contribute less to the economy because they don't pay for accommodations.
Colau told El Pais that there were thousands of people who arrived at the same time. Most of them stay for a short time in the downtown area. They make you feel like you're collapsing.
The exact details of the measures have not been announced. A new tax that would ensure more income flowing from cruise companies into public coffers but if set too low wouldn't necessarily reduce the number of passengers arriving Colau suggested that she may be in favor of a cap on the number of ships in port.
The city of Barcelona has been dealing with overcrowding for some time. In a bid to reduce the displacement of communities and local businesses from its core, the city has already banned new hotels in its center and taken steps to reduce the number of listings with a licensing system.
Barcelona isn't the only place that makes cruise ships less welcome. A maximum of three ships are allowed in the harbor of Palma de Mallorca, but only one with a capacity of 5,000 or more passengers. The harbor of Venice banned large ships from its lagoon in the year 2021.
Some controversy is likely to be generated by any curb on numbers. Even if guests don't stay overnight, businesses in central Barcelona still make a lot of money.
Barcelona residents got to experience their city without a lot of tourists for the first time in a long time during the Pandemic. The deputy mayor said that they couldn't go back to the 3.1 million passengers. Visitors don't add value to the city and the impact of the Pandemic is too great for residents.