Barcelona Is the Latest City Frustrated by an Abundance of Tourists

It's a popular cruise ship destination

A rainbow over the city of Barcelona
Barcelona is a scenic destination, that's for sure.
Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

There’s a challenge facing the government of almost any tourist destination: how do you balance the boost to the local economy with the need to keeping crowds under control? It’s a question that’s led residents of Hawai’i to ask tourists to stop visiting and prompted the government of Venice to add a reservation system for people visiting the city without an overnight stay.

The latest city facing this conundrum is Barcelona, which is currently struggling with an abundance of visitors — particularly those on cruises. An article at The Observer describes the difficulties that local authorities have faced in addressing a large and temporary influx of visitors. As the article describes, some of this has to do with logistics — Barcelona has been facing drought conditions, which further complicates matters.

Barcelona is currently seeking a cap on the number of cruise ships that can dock in a given period of time. The Observer cites a goal of 200,000 cruise ship visitors each month.

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Some of this is likely a kind of growing pains. As more people try to make up for lost travel time during the pandemic, certain destinations are bound to become even more crowded than they did in the pre-2020 world. It’s a difficult balance to strike for several reasons, and Barcelona’s search for an answer may well prompt other cities to follow suit.


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