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Coping with success in Barcelona

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Barcelona case study presented at RTD13 in Barcelona

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Coping with success in Barcelona

  1. 1. Coping with Success in Barcelona Harold Goodwin Responsible Tourism Partnership Institute for Place Management, MMU
  2. 2. Context • A leader in coping with overtourism • London, Paris and Rome. London grew by 16% between 2005 and 2013 Barcelona grew by more than 54% in eight years • Good accessible data • Turisme de Barcelona |Ajuntament de Barcelona & Barcelona Activa • Overtourism a concern since 2004 and engaged with since 2008 • Public discourse and a continuity of approach • Barcelona is a modern, cosmopolitan and open city, proud of its diversity • Open to the sea and pluricultural – international and cosmopolitan. • First city in the world to be awarded Biosphere Destination certification. • Development of new forms of the sharing economy • Little influence over arrivals: the port, the airport , the railway station. • Seamlessly connected to L'Hospitalet de Llobregat a city of 260,000
  3. 3. In December 2009 residents and traders in Raval sent over 500 Christmas cards to city officials with candid photographs of prostitutes, drug dealers, and tourists using the street as a toilet and having sex in public "Volem un barri digne!" (We want a dignified district!)
  4. 4. 2008 Municipal Action Plan • “strengthen the balance between local residents and tourists, while preserving the identity values of the city.” • to “ensure that tourism fitted better with the needs of the city. • planning the city’s capacity for hosting tourists “in accordance with the characteristics of the public space and with regard to the impact of tourism” • referring to tourists as temporary residents have framed the discourse since 2008 – avoiding scape goating. Tourism and the city are “constructed mutually” Coexistence
  5. 5. Making a better place to live in • “The health of the city’s tourist activity stems from the well-being of its population, which must be cause and effect of the successful development of Barcelona as a tourist destination.” • 2009 Tourism and City Technical Committee – whole of government approach. • The 2008 economic crisis
  6. 6. 2010-2015 Plan recognised overtourism • Territorial deconcentration – no tourism ghettos • adaptation to demand - learn to live with the new “temporary citizens” who choose Barcelona to do business, experience culture, undergo training and enjoy themselves.” • Tourism an important part of the “tertiarisation processes” • “the massification and standardisation” of the tourism offer could lead to the deterioration of Barcelona negatively impacting on the “quality of life the local community and spoiling the visitors’ experience.”
  7. 7. “desired tourism model” • “The hospitable character of the locals makes it a friendly, different city that people are fond of.” Inclusive 1. “heterogeneous and diverse… plac[ing] the emphasis on people”; 2. “tolerant and civic minded”; 3. “inclusive, and committed to social cohesion” 4. “an open attitude to welcoming visitors” • a city with “stories that can be shared between the community and visitors”
  8. 8. 2010-2015 Strategy 1. Territorial deconcentration - foster a more equitable distribution of the economic and social effects caused by tourism” to produce a “territorial re-equilibrium, releasing the pressure on some zones of the city.” 2. Governance data and “moving from managing tourists to managing visitors.” 3. Generation of synergies “fostering hospitality, extending a warm welcome to visitors, coexistence and reciprocal exchanges”, “raising the profile of Catalonia.” 4. Competitive improvements, moving from accelerated growth to the “consolidation of sustainable growth ‘post-crisis’”
  9. 9. 7th ICRTD “What is good for citizens is good for the tourist. Places that are good to live in are also good to visit. Efforts will be made to improve the quality of life for local people by managing the friction between residents and visitors and to improve the interaction between hosts and guests…..” and that the “tourist that Catalunya wants to attract is the one who will respect the environment, the society and the local culture, eager to discover and share experiences.”
  10. 10. City needed to be proactive. • “establishing the necessary tools and measures to ensure the sector develops correctly.” • the “maturity of any tourist destination depends on the provision of management and planning tools, as well as tools for promotion.” • commitment to sustainable tourism • “redistribution of tourism activity throughout the territory.”
  11. 11. 2014 - 2015 • decongestion of tourism activity, • district tourism plans, • an enlarged destination Barcelona, • tourist mobility, safety and security, • management of accommodation and sites, • industry support • the development of tourism intelligence • management of events • Before the 2015 election and the changing of the ruling group. • Barconeleta crisis Major consultation process to determine the basics for a “local agreement on the management and promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism.” 1. Creating new focal points & landmarks 2. Tackling Barceloneta, 3. the Boqueria market, 4. the Sagrada Família, 5. La Rambla, 6. concentrations of tourist coaches, 7. illegal tourist accommodation, 8. anti-social behaviours, 9. and safety
  12. 12. Post election • Ada Colau of the demonstrators • “defending their neighbourhood, their city, from the free market and from the political elites that are putting our home up for sale.” • Mayor promised an inspection and crackdown on illegal holiday apartments in La Barceloneta and 24 holiday apartments were closed. • Halted new tourism development • 2016-2020 plan – continuity but with added political impetus • Tourism and the City “the whole of society and its economic, social, cultural and territorial life".
  13. 13. Quoted the RTD7 Declaration • “What is good for the citizen is good for tourism. The places that are good for living in are good for visiting. Efforts will focus on improving the quality of life of citizens, managing friction between residents and visitors and promoting dialogue and interaction between visitors and residents.”
  14. 14. Continuities in the 2016 Plan • conceptual shift from tourist to visitors reflecting and respecting the diversity of travel motivations and activities in the destination • the need for comprehensive management, • “inseparable pairing” between sustainability and competitiveness. • Five pillars 1. sustainability, 2. responsibility, 3. redistribution, 4. cohesion and 5. Innovation • we need to ratify the commitments to sustainability and responsibility signed by the city and, more importantly, have them implemented through specific and courageous action proposals.”
  15. 15. Barcelona’s Tourism Management Strategy Balance & wider spread of tourism a) boost the financial impact of the sector and to attract tourists with high spending power; b) promote its own identity as a tourist attraction; c) reconcile tourists/local community; d) ensure the geographical and multi-sectorial distribution of tourism; e) strengthen the public-private promotional model 1. Shared knowledge base 2. Engagement in the decidim.barcelona participatory process 3. Governance – City and Tourism Council 4. Accommodation – Managing (distribution , legalities, specialisation) and taxing new forms of accommodation – Over development in some areas – Unlicensed – Emergency Inspection Plan and action against intermediaries
  16. 16. The Second Deputy Mayor, Jaume Collboni, highlighting the need for Barcelona to handle 100% of its tourist tax to tackle the impact of tourism in the city; asserted that: “Tourism has to serve the city and not the other way around.” “Barcelona is a tourist city, it’s a brand with a culture and life style created and shared by citizens and tourists, it has to learn to manage tourism better and it is a leading example of how tourism can be used to make Barcelona a better place to live in, and a better place to visit.”
  17. 17. Conclusion • Applied common sense? • understanding that using tourism for sustainable development of the city is about more than just having more tourists every year is very unusual and probably unique. • Why is it radical? • Because others are not doing it!

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