Monday, 27 March 2017

Book now for MWC 2019: Barcelona seeks limits on tourists

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Friday 27 January 17

New mayor Ada Colau pushes ahead with legislation banning new hotels, tourist apartments.

Would-be Mobile World Congress-goers could soon find it even harder to book accommodation in Barcelona, after its new mayor pressed ahead with plans to curb the number of visitors to the city…

Would-be Mobile World Congress-goers could soon find it even harder to book accommodation in Barcelona, after its new mayor pressed ahead with plans to curb the number of visitors to the city.

The Guardian reports on Friday that Barcelona, led by mayor Ada Colau, has passed a law that places a moratorium on building new hotels and halts the issuance of licences for tourist apartments. The plan is not expected to have an impact before 2019, since a number of building projects are already underway, the report said.

The law is popular with local residents, angry at the high price of property in the city, but opposed by hoteliers and the tourism industry.

If visitor numbers to Mobile World Congress continue to grow at the same surprisingly-consistent rate that the GSMA says they do, then attendees might struggle to find somewhere reasonable to stay from 2019 onwards.

According to the Guardian report, there are 75,000 hotel beds in Barcelona, and approximately 50,000 beds in legal tourist apartments, plus a further 50,000 illegal ones.

Visitors to Mobile World Congress topped 100,000 for the first time last year.

Barcelona has an agreement with the GSMA to be the host city of MWC until at least 2023.

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