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Barcelona tourist very worried

Barcelona tourist very worried

Riots, the Thomas Cook bankruptcy Spain’s tourist industry has another problem, Barcelona,.

The Catalonian city is the most popular tourist destination in Spain.

A week of violent and destructive disturbances over the jailing of Catalan political leaders left the city with a clean-up bill estimated at €3m but it is feared that the images of airport chaos, running battles with police and flaming barricades will cost the city a great deal more.

The tourism association Barcelona Oberta estimates that economic activity in the city center – principally the retail and hospitality sectors – fell by between 30-50% during the week after the sentences were announced on 14 October.

Some 70 restaurants had their outdoor terraces destroyed as rioters burned chairs and parasols on the barricades, causing around €2m in damage to property.

Some of the worst riotings were in Passeig de Gràcia, the city’s upmarket shopping street, where around 60% of sales are to tourists.

The Barcelona hoteliers association claimed there have been cancellations but relatively few.

The same is happening with Airbnb and other holiday apartment platforms. According AirDNA, which analyses the short-term rental market, reservations for the week from 14 October, when the protests began, were down by nearly 1,000 on the same week last year, from 12,515 to 11,537.

Tourism accounts for 15% of Barcelona’s GDP and the hotel business alone has a turnover of some €1.6bn. The tourism industry employs around 100,000 people, 40,000 of them directly.

As well as tourism, Barcelona is one of the world’s favorite conference venues. 

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