Barcelona Destination Sustainability – Special Report

Barcelona is a destination which needs little introduction, thanks to its international fame. Situated in the northeast of Spain on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the capital of Catalonia entered the world stage as the host of the 1992 Olympic Games, which is when its tourism success story began.

But being a popular tourist destination comes at a price. In recent years, Barcelona has been increasingly suffering from overcrowded public spaces and disgruntled residents. Faced with those challenges, Barcelona’s destination managers and marketers, together with the City Council are on a mission to find solutions and to promote tourism that is more responsible and sustainable.

The Sustainability Leaders Project went to check out how they are doing it, producing a series of interviews with destination managers and tourism professionals who are helping Barcelona in its transition from harmful mass tourism to a more respectful, sustainable tourism offer and experience.

Some of the key insights gained from the interviews conducted by the Sustainability Leaders Project:

  • Barcelona Tourism’s objective is to improve the quality of life of its residents by maximising the positive effects of touristic activity and minimising its negative impacts.
  • Among the many strategies devised by Park Guell to follow the cultural, social, environmental, and economic principles of sustainability, their priority is to ensure the quality of the tourists’ visit without compromising the park’s ambition to serve as a public space for residents to enjoy.
  • Regulations and smart use of technology have helped reduce tourism in the most visited area of Park Guell from 9 to 2 million visitors per year, thereby streamlining tourism flow and reducing overcrowding.
  • Communicating the message to respect heritage so that future generations can still enjoy Park Guell has resulted in less vandalism and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Relying on smart technology has worked wonders for Twentytú Hi-tech Hostel with respect to achieving energy efficiency.
  • Actively engaging with locals under the ‘Be a Tourist in Your City’ campaign, Twentytú Hi-tech Hostel provides accommodations at discounted prices for locals and also guided tours through the Poble Nou District, among other initiatives.

Read the interviews on

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