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Spain News: Barcelona To Raise Tourist Tax On April 1

Sagrada Familia Barcelona increases tourist tax
Sagrada Familia – Barcelona to increase tourist tax from April 1 [Image by Canaan on Wikimedia Commons]
Over-tourism rears its head again as Barcelona announces an increase in its tourist tax on April 1. The iconic Spanish city first levied a tourist tax in 2012 to attract “quality” tourism, but now it is set to increase again. Read on to learn more about the tourist tax and how it affects travelers.

Barcelona, Spain increases tourist tax once again

Since it first levied a tourist tax in 2012, city officials in Barcelona announced in 2022 that the fee would increase over the next two years. Meanwhile, the city’s surcharge varies, depending on the type of visitor accommodations and how many stars it holds. Moreover, it will only be charged for official tourist accommodations, such as hotels and bed & breakfasts.

Parque Guell
Parque Guell by Antoni Gaudi [Image by Nikolaus Bader from Pixabay]
The reason for the tax is that Barcelona is the most visited city in Spain, with its amazing architecture by Antoni Gaudi and other major attractions. For this reason, the city struggles with over-tourism, a condition widely reported since the pandemic.

How much is Barcelona’s tourist tax per night?

La Rambla, Barcelona - over-tourism
Over-tourism in La Rambla, Barcelona [Image by Nikolaus Bader from Pixabay]
From April 1, 2024, visitors to Barcelona will be charged both the regional tourist tax and a city-wide surcharge. Meanwhile, the regional tax varies, with four-star hotels charging €1.70, and five-star and luxury hotels and resorts at €3.50. Airbnb rental accommodation attracts a tax of €2.25.

Those visiting the city on a cruise ship, and spending less than 12 hours in Barcelona will pay €3, while those spending more than 12 hours will pay €2.

Meanwhile, the city tax, which is applied to a maximum seven-night stay, has steadily increased over the years. In April 2023 the tax increased from €1.75 to €2.75 for all types of stay. From April 1, 2024, the tax will rise once more to €3.25.

This also means that travelers visiting Barcelona will have to pay €3.25 to the city, on top of the regional tourist tax. Moreover, this is an increase of €0.50 per night.

Basically, those staying in five-star accommodation will pay a total of €6.75 per night, which works out as  €47.25 per person for a week’s stay. Tourists staying in rental accommodations will pay up to €5.50 per night or €38.50 for a week’s stay, on top of the nightly cost of the accommodations.

Similar to Venice’s recently levied tax, cruise day-trippers are set to pay €6.25.

Encouraging ‘quality’ tourism

Barcelona's beach
Barcelona’s beach [Image by 12019 from Pixabay]
Speaking of the rise in taxes, the city’s mayor said that this is to encourage “quality” tourism rather than big visitor numbers. Barcelona annually sees an average of 32 million visitors, many of whom arrive in the city’s port on cruise ships.

According to TTW, the increased taxes are split between Barcelona’s Generalitat and the City Council, and will also bolster the city’s budget. Officials believe the fee could bring in as much as €100 million ($108 million) in 2024.

“The economic data for tourism in 2019 is already increasing, not in the number of tourists, but in the amount of income from tourism in Barcelona,” deputy mayor Jaume Collboni said adding:

It was the objective sought: to contain the number of tourists and increase tourist income because our model is no longer mass tourism but quality tourism, which adds value to the city.

Moreover, the proceeds of the taxes will fund Barcelona’s infrastructure, such as improvements to roads, escalators and bus services.


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