Barcelona has joined the list of cities that take measures aimed at better managing large number of tourists. As the tourism industry is returning to pre-pandemic levels, authorities have decided to take action that ease the pressure and inconveniences for residents.
The new rules mainly concern guided tours and the nuisance that large groups of tourists create on the streets of the famous Spanish destinations. Parts of the city will be restricted to tours, while for the areas that are still open, strict regulations around sound noise and numbers will have to be respected.
Tour guides have to either start using whispers, or any similar system in which tourists can listen to the information through a headset, or simply speak at normal volumes. Megaphones or speaking too loudly is no longer allowed.
The places accessible by organized tours has also been limited. Only 24 streets and squares can be visited in groups from now on and a one-way system has been introduced to avoid the congestion created when two or more crowds intersect. Moreover, even on these limited routes, guides are asked to only make stops in more spacious areas that allow enough room for the rest of the pedestrians to walk by without too much trouble.
The tour guide companies are also asked to encourage visitors to book their tours in advance instead of purchasing their tickets on the spot. In this way, large queues and thus crowding can be prevented.
Lastly, groups will be limited to 15 visitors instead of 30 when going through the narrow streets of the old Ciutat Vella neighbourhood. Furthermore, some historic landmarks will only allow 3 to 8 visitors at a time.
Barcelona‘s measures are part of a wider campaign in Spain that hopes to reduce the nuisances created by tourists. Other policies across the country include an allowance of maximum 6 drinks per day at all inclusive holiday resorts or the banning of “inappropriately” dressed (swimsuits, football kits or accessories bought from street stalls like umbrella hats and gold chains) tourists in bars and restaurants in Playa de Palma.