More than 800 new tourist homes in Barcelona due to municipal error

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tourist homes

BARCELONA – A remarkable error in the policies of the municipality of Barcelona has led to an unexpected influx of permits for tourist properties.

The Special Urban Plan for Tourist Accommodations (PEUAT) was intended to limit the growth of new tourist accommodations in the center. Due to legal complications this has now been cancelled, resulting in the possible approval of up to 886 new tourist apartments.

Increase in number of tourist homes

Since 2019, after the cancellation of the PEUAT, the municipality has already approved 615 tourist apartments, with another 271 pending. If these are also approved, the total number of holiday homes in Barcelona will rise to 10,075. This represents a significant increase of almost 10% since 2021.

Legal battle and consequences

According to La Vanguardia, the legal battle began when the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC) declared the PEUAT null and void. Many homeowners took this opportunity to apply for new permits. They used the argument that in the absence of a valid plan, there were no restrictions on new tourist licenses. This led to an avalanche of applications, mainly in the first 15 days after the cancellation, for the municipality to submit an objection. Although the municipality rejected many applications on the grounds that the plan was still valid, the court ultimately ruled in favor of many owners.

Response from the municipality and future measures

The Barcelona city council regrets the situation that has arisen and is committed to more regulations and restrictions in this area. The decree approved by the Catalan government to regulate and limit the activities of tourist properties is appreciated. In addition, the Esquerra political party is advocating the adoption of a regulation regulating the conditions of tourist apartments.

Cogesa Expats

The more than 800 tourist apartments that will eventually be added to the offer in Barcelona even exceed the estimates of the ERC city council faction. This was based on 774 homes during the period of the PEUAT suspension.

Overtourism in Barcelona

Barcelona, one of Europe’s most visited cities, has been struggling with overtourism for years. The city attracts millions of tourists every year, attracted by its rich culture, architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. However, this popularity has a downside: pressure on local infrastructure, housing market and quality of life. Residents complain about rising rents and the displacement of local shops by tourist companies. Despite the measures taken by the city council to limit the negative impact, the challenge of finding a balance between tourism and quality of life remains.

Even tourists consider Barcelona overcrowded

The Catalan capital has a population of 1.6 million and received 28 million tourists in the year before the pandemic. Industry experts predict that this number will be similar or even higher by 2023. With these numbers, the nuisance experienced by both residents and visitors themselves increases. A study by Rovira i Virgili University shows that more than half of cruise passengers think Barcelona is overcrowded.

With a tourist density in the old center (Ciutat Vella) of no less than 21,861 tourists per square kilometer, this is unimaginable. The average tourist density in the entire center is 3,854 tourists per km2. That is why the municipality hoped to prevent the opening of even more tourist accommodations with restrictive measures.

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