Barcelona Bans New Hotels in City Center

The Barcelona city council has just approved a plan to stop new hotels within the city center. The plan divides the city into four zones, forcing all new hotel rooms to be built on the outskirts of the city. The plan approved is less strict than the initial proposal of banning all new hotels throughout the city.

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Map of new hotel rules – Red: All new hotels banned, Yellow: only new beds replacing closed hotel beds allowed, Green: hotels allowed under strict rules.

Many real estate and tourist experts in the city claim Barcelona will lose tourism industry competitiveness and investors. Several other cities in Europe have limitations on new hotels in city centers – including Venice, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris – but none as strict as Barcelona’s new measures. The new hotel ban has impacted many hotels under development, including a Hyatt and Four Seasons – both have now stopped their development process.

The city government claims they have instituted the new policy to help protect neighborhoods from residential buildings being turned into hotels. The number of hotels in Barcelona had doubled in the past 15 years, forcing many residents out. Ironically, those who benefit most from the plan in the short term are existing hotels, who now have limited new competition in the city center.

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How do you think this new hotel ban will impact tourism in Barcelona?

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