Barcelona tourism sector starts a fight against illegal holiday rentals

by Lorraine Williamson
illegal tourism rentals

BARCELONA – With the tourism recovery already in pre-pandemic figures, following a very profitable Semana Santa for Spanish tourism, certain illegal activities in Barcelona’s tourism sector are under scrutiny all the more. 

Illegal rental of holiday properties is a particular thorn in the side of the tourism sector in the Catalan capital. The sector has therefore united to put an end to illegal holiday rentals in the city. 

The Barcelona Futur association has organised a round table discussion with tourism representatives to address these issues and address them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. 

Main concerns for the tourism sector 

As reported by La Vanguardia, illegal tourist flats, and sublet rooms, are the main concerns for tourism in Barcelona. However, also of concern is the return of the ‘top manta’ and other irregular activities such as ‘pedicabs’ (unregulated taxi services) or the ‘lateros’ (itinerant sales of drinks).  

Illegal rental to tourists is the biggest problem 

Industry representatives have highlighted the continued increase in tourist flats and illegal rooms being rented out. Several measures adopted by the Barcelona City Council to eradicate this activity, therefore, appear to have had too little effect. 

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“Unstoppable Growth” 

Aptur points out, for example, that the growth in the number of homes illegally rented to tourists through well-known platforms such as Airbnb in the Ciutat Vella neighbourhood (the historic centre) is “unstoppable”, even though “no one has been there for more than 15 years.” new permits have been issued” 

“Whoever previously had an illegal tourist apartment can now have as many rooms as there are rooms”. This is what the vice president of the Association of Neighbours of Barceloneta protested in statements collected by Spanish media. 

For Baena (Gremi d’Hotels), this situation represents “an opportunity for the tourist mafia”. Meanwhile, Alcántara (Apartur) has called for “immediate action”, pointing to inspections as a means of curbing this kind of illegality. 

Also read: Tourist tax in Valencian municipalities

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