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Barcelona, one of Spain’s top tourist destinations, is planning to charge visitors more to stay overnight in 2023. The council has said it wants to bring in 52 million euros (£45million) from tourist tax this year.
It is then aiming to reach 100 million euros (£88million) by 2024. In 2022, the income from tourist tax was just 33 million euros (£29million).
British tourists will be forced to dig deeper to holiday in the Spanish coastal city and pay a higher rate of tourist tax.
The tax paid by tourists who stay in the Catalan region will be split between the Generalitat and the City Council.
The regional Government has already approved an increase in the surcharge and will allow Barcelona city council to charge four euros (£3.53) per night.
In 2023, the maximum nightly charge in tourist tax is 2.75 euros (£2.43) but this will rise to 3.25 euros (£2.87) in April 2024.
In 2021, the maximum charge was two euros (£1.77) representing a sharp rise in just a few years.
Deputy mayor Jaume Collboni, said: “The economic data for tourism in 2029 is already increasing, not in the number of tourists, but in the amount of income from tourism in Barcelona.
“It was the objective sought; to contain the number of tourists and increase tourist income because our model is no longer mass tourism but quality tourism, which adds value to the city.”
Collboni said the “debate on tourism in Barcelona has been rebalanced” following the pandemic.
The deputy mayor added that “everyone has seen the consequences of zero tourism and the harsh impact it has had on the city, with some districts suffering more than 50 percent unemployment.”
The city’s mayor, Ada Colau, said: “In 2024, our forecast is that with the municipal section of the tax, another part is received by the Generalitat, the city can enter 100 million euros (£88million) per year in the municipal budget as a result of tourist activity.”
Barcelona intends to spend the money on city improvements such as new escalators and elevators.
It could also be used to improve the city’s bus network and maintain Barcelona’s busy public roads.
Residents in the Spanish city have complained about the negative impact of mass tourism, particularly in honeypot areas.
The city has also previously announced plans to tax cruise tourists to crack down on pollution from the ships.
Cruise tourists already pay a tax if their ship docks overnight in Barcelona port but this could increase.
Areas such as the touristy Gothic Quarter have particularly struggled to cope with the number of visitors.
Barcelona has already brought in new rules to control the number of tour groups allowed in the city.
It’s not the only Spanish area to be concerned about tourism with the Valencia region also set to bring in a tourist tax.
Benidorm and Alicante have both vowed never to introduce the optional tourist tax as it could put off holidaymakers.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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