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Barcelona Bans New Hotels in the City Center

Amid a crackdown on tourism, these are the city’s toughest measures yet.
A woman pulls a suitcase through the Barceloneta neighborhood in front of a banner that reads "No tourist apartments."
A woman pulls a suitcase through the Barceloneta neighborhood in front of a banner that reads "No tourist apartments."Albert Gea/Reuters

For Barcelona’s tourism industry, the past week may have marked the end of an era. While Spain’s second city has seen galloping, almost uncontrollable growth in tourism since the millennium, the city voted Friday to adopt the most drastic ban on new vacation accommodations yet seen in any European city.

In the city center, all new hotel beds are banned, period. In a small area encircling the city center, new hotel beds will be permitted, but only to replace those in hotels that have closed. In Barcelona’s suburbs, new hotel beds will be permitted, but only under strictly limited conditions—land that has previously been earmarked for housing, for example, will be completely off limits.