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Barcelona gets serious about 'over-tourism'


Barcelona, which has grumbled a bit over the past few years about the impact tourism has on the city, is taking some measures to control it, including cracking down on illegal apartment rentals.

Nine agencies were sanctioned for renting tourist apartments without proper permits, and TripAdvisor was fined €30,000 for advertising them. A few months ago, Airbnb, and HomeAway were fined for a similar situation. Local groups, including the city's reform-movement government fear that too many apartments will become tourist flats, raising rents for locals.

Other measures include banning Segways from the narrow streets and plazas of the city's old quarter, the Ciutat Vella, and near the waterfront and banning tour groups from the big La Bouqueria market. The market is an important food distribution center as well as an attraction to visitors; the city feels it is just too crowded to have groups moving through it.

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Photo: Crowds at Casa Batllo, Barcelona (Nicholas Marr/Wikimedia)

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