These are the questions that torment not only the residents of Barcelona, but new Mayor Hell Kolau. In an attempt to curb and control the pace it had at the beginning of July one year moratorium on the opening of new accommodation. Former activist left competing on behalf of the bloc Barcelona en Comú, expand what began its predecessor – the nationalist Xavier Trias, who introduced the ban only to the rental of apartments. Now suspended for 12 months permits for all new hotels, hostels, rooms for rent and all places where tourists can stay.
Kolau says that “tourism is an asset that we must take care and make it sustainable.” And most of the 1.6 million inhabitants of Barcelona support it. For a quarter-century beds in hotels only increased three times – from 23,719 in 1991 to 37,224 in 2003 and 69,128 in 2013. The capital of Catalonia has an unknown number of unlicensed apartments rented through specialized sites. New at least 30 sites with 3,000 new beds waiting for approval to operate until 2017, tells in. El Pais.
Trap tourist monoculture
Kolau actions are a response to the dissatisfaction of local residents from the risk of falling into the trap of the so-called. tourist monoculture – betting on tourism. This is especially visible in the former fishing district of Barceloneta, inundated by noisy crowds and thriving tourist trade even in the years of economic collapse in Spain. Many buildings can be seen hanging a banner saying Cap pis touristic! (“Enough with apartments for tourists!”). So people are protesting against the transformation of the neighboring apartment in the noisy hostel guests arrived with a low-cost company (2010, Ryanair began flights to the airport El Prat) for a bachelor party or drinking over the weekend. Because of this phenomenon, vacated buildings of their local inhabitants, last year there were street protests.
Now Kolau trying to avoid their repetition, but to kill the goose laying golden eggs. Barcelona was visited in 2013 by at least 7.5 million tourists and the hotel lobby this year trying to cross the symbolic threshold of 10 million guests. The tourism sector is also important for the municipal budget, because yield nearly 12 billion. Euros annually provides between 12 and 14 percent of GDP to the local economy and provides nearly 115,000 jobs.
The authorities responded last year by more police patrols, announcing a direct line of communication to cavort residents of apartment rental and more stringent regulations, but the problem remained. According to Sergio Arnas, campaign manager Barceloneta Diu Prou (“Barceloneta” said Enough! “), The inhabitants of the once quiet neighborhood not only tormented by sleepless nights, but were victims of property speculators. They usually inflate prices in order to drive local citizens and to become a more lucrative one building in hostels.