The sight of native children enjoying underneath the palm timber in an virtually empty Plaça Reial sq. reminds Gloria Gomez of her childhood within the Nineteen Eighties earlier than tourism swamped the Barcelona landmark.
“It’s good to see it however on the identical time it’s so unhappy,” mentioned Gomez, 53, a concierge at a constructing within the old-town sq., a job she inherited from her mom.
The pandemic has dealt an enormous blow to tourism-dependent nations like Spain and cities reminiscent of Barcelona, certainly one of Europe’s hottest. However now they’re looking for to lure guests again, they’re additionally debating the necessity to change their financial fashions to deal with a longstanding overcrowding downside.
“There’s a complete change of technique,” mentioned Marian Muro, director of Turisme de Barcelona, a public-private consortium, explaining the shift away from normal promotion of town.
“High quality is extra necessary than amount” and a larger respect from guests to Barcelona’s residents are among the many elements behind town’s extra segmented strategy, she mentioned.
Searching for new tourism property, it goals to advertise its native meals and tech startup scene and is providing journey brokers coaching to cater to Chinese language guests’ wants to attract extra excessive spenders from there, in addition to Southeast Asia and america.
It is usually demanding well being necessities from tourism firms receiving a United Nations sustainable dedication label to protect in opposition to the pandemic and has signed a cope with Moscow to advertise lengthy weekend journeys for tradition and purchasing.
They’re new techniques for town of 1.6 million that final 12 months estimated it had near 30 million guests, together with day trippers and a few 14 million who stayed no less than one night time.
Earlier than the pandemic, amid anger over hovering housing costs and considerations vacationers have been creating no-go areas for locals, the municipality tried measures reminiscent of proscribing the opening of latest motels, drawing criticism from the personal sector.
Tourism usually accounts for over 12% of GDP in Spain, which the United Nations recorded because the world’s second most visited nation in 2018 after France.
However worldwide arrivals slumped 98% in June from a 12 months in the past. Hopes of a rebound in July after the tip of a nationwide lockdown have been dashed by quarantines and no-travel advisories issued by many nations as numerous areas of Spain – Barcelona specifically – suffered an uptick in infections.
Lower than a 3rd of Barcelona motels are open and have been simply 20% full in July, and the federal government of Catalonia expects tourism sector losses of no less than 15 billion euros within the area. Direct spending from vacationers reached round 8.8 billion euros in Barcelona in 2018, in accordance with metropolis corridor.