Tourism pressure

Amid short term lets row, Barcelona plans total ban

Barcelona: plans to ban short term lets

As tourism operators in Scotland continue to push for an easing of short term letting rules, there are moves in Barcelona to eliminate all short-term tourist lets in the city.

Accommodation providers in Scotland claim that tighter restrictions on short-term lets will cause irreversible damage and make the country less competitive against rival destinations.

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers has led calls for a “decoupling of licensing and planning regimes” as part of a review of the government’s plans to regulate the sector.

Ahead of Housing Minister Paul McLennan appearing before a Holyrood committee on Tuesday, the ASSC’s chief executive Fiona Campbell insists there has to be “real, tangible change otherwise more small indigenous Scottish businesses will continue to close.”

Meanwhile, other locations such as Venice, the Canary Islands and Barcelona are stepping up action against short term lets amid problems of over-tourism and its effects on the supply of homes to local residents.

The mayor of Barcelona has pledged to eliminate short-term tourist lets in the city within five years.

Jaume Collboni told a news conference he does not plan to renew any of the 10,101 tourist licences granted to landlords when they expire in November 2028.

Mr Collboni said the appartments, which are currently advertised on platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway, would instead be made available to locals. It would be “equivalent to building 10,000 new homes,” he said.

“More supply of housing is needed, and the measures we’re presenting today are to provide more supply,” he said, adding that rents have risen by 70% over the past 10 years and had become unaffordable.

Barcelona has struggled with a limited supply of housing for years. Politicians blame high rates of tourism as well as the city’s growing status as a tech hub attracting foreign workers. New building has not kept up with the increased demand, driving up prices.

In recent months, thousands have protested in other parts of Spain, including the Canary Islands, against the effects of mass tourism, which they claim is damaging the environment and driving locals out.

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