Mayor of Seville wants to make tourists pay for visit Plaza de España

by Lorraine Williamson
Plaza de España

It is a beautiful and world-famous square: the Plaza de España in Seville. A beautiful place to visit, and also the setting for several films. The mayor of Seville, José Luis San (PP), announced on social media this week that the municipality plans to close the monument. Tourists would then have to pay for a visit.

Sanz has indicated that with the property tax paid by Sevillians, it is not possible to maintain all the heritage of the city. He confirmed on Sunday that he wants to propose to the General Directorate of State Heritage, which depends on the Ministry of Finance, a cooperation agreement to create a “management unit” for the maintenance and preservation of the Plaza de España.

This would mean, among other things, that the monumental complex, designed by Aníbal González for the Ibero-American World’s Fair in 1929, would no longer be freely accessible to tourists.

With the measure, the municipality wants to pay for the maintenance of Plaza de España and guarantee safety. The councillor went on to say that “of course, the Plaza de España will remain freely accessible and free for all residents of Seville”.

Deluge of reactions

The announcement has provoked a flood of reactions. There are many opponents, because what does the decision mean, for example, in terms of restricting the use of a public space. There are also proponents, who believe that the measure will benefit the preservation and protection of Plaza de España.

The government delegate in Andalucia, Pedro Fernández, has stated that he has no official knowledge of this proposal. The measure cannot be implemented without the cooperation of the Government of Spain. It owns, through state ownership, both the colonnade in the Plaza de España and the building with the official offices and public services.

Response of Minister Montero

Minister Montero also gave her response. “Privatising public space cannot be the answer to the care and preservation of the Plaza de España. This cultural jewel in Seville belongs to everyone. Of course, the Ministry of Finance will not lend itself to this”, she stated on X. She referred to the powers of the central government when it comes to the heritage of the Plaza de España.

The mayor of Seville, José Luis Sanz, has also commented through his social networks. The councillor commented that he likes the debate, “but without demagoguery” and stressed that “nothing will be closed or privatised”, they are only going to “charge a fee to tourists, as is done in most cities in the world”.

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