Barcelona Vows to Drive Out Air BnB Amid Anti-Tourist Sentiments

As part of Mayor Jaume Collboni’s efforts to rein in skyrocketing rents and shield residents from the impact of mass tourism, Barcelona is planning to outlaw Airbnb units within the city by the year 2029. 

With the Generalitat of Catalonia’s approval, local administrations will not renew current permits or issue new ones. Collboni thinks this would make Barcelona more affordable for young people who have been driven away by skyrocketing rates and will also open up the market for additional short-term rentals.

Rents, according to the Spanish lawmaker, are “skyrocketing,” forcing young people and those with ordinary earnings to leave the city.

In the past ten years, rents in Barcelona have climbed by almost 70%, and home sale prices have risen by 39%.

 Four years after Barcelona instituted its AirBnB licensing scheme, former mayor Ada Colau forbade homeowners from renting out individual rooms. As part of its ongoing effort to curb excessive tourism, the Spanish city of Barcelona increased its so-called “tourism tax,” which means anybody staying in the city for more than one night would have to pay an extra €3.25 (or $3.52).

Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas, and Park Guell were among the top attractions for the more than 12 million tourists who visited the city in 2023. But separatist Together for Catalonia councilor Damià Calvet criticized Collboni’s revised proposals, saying they were ideological, not based on the legality or the regulation of the rents themselves, and “improvised.” Maria Harris, a representative from the Open Property Data Association, stated that the Mayor’s decision is ‘all about politics.’ She went on to say that the city is losing its younger population and that the solution is to build fewer houses for tourists.

In other Spanish tourist areas, the war on tourism is ongoing; for example, visitors to Costa Blanca who purchase trinkets from unlicensed vendors face fines of up to €200 (about £170). Majorca has also been the site of large-scale protests by anti-tourism demonstrators, who have been aiming their guns at vacationers. A recent survey indicated that, in the wake of the widespread protests, over half of all respondents would think twice before planning a trip to the famous island.