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  • Cathedral, beach, Rambla.

  • Millions of people in one place.

  • Tourism is becoming a challenge.

  • Not far from Barcelona, a beach promenade is being removed to make sure that tourists keep coming.

  • How does it all fit together?

  • The answer is: it's complicated, because tourism is also complicated. On the one hand, there are crowds. 20 million people visit Barcelona's Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the Market Hall every year.

  • They're often crowded.

  • The city now wants to make improvements and is spending millions.

  • Every city is currently trying to manage tourism.

  • Is it positive for the city?

  • Yes, but you do reach a point where it no longer brings any added value. The next morning, I meet Esther Llorquera, who lives in the Barceloneta district, right next to the port.

  • She's fed up with tourism.

  • Her opinion on the town hall's plans is very clear.

  • In other words, Barcelona will continue to be overcrowded.

  • We need less tourism, but done well and purposefully.

  • Not just investing millions in public money on something that turns out to be ineffective. The local resident is furious because the city is also spending millions to host the America's Cup sailing regatta.

  • City Hall believes this kind of event is right for Barcelona, but it will bring even more tourists.

  • And not just tourists.

  • A few weeks ago, I got this letter from Engel and Furcas saying that a lot of buyers will be coming to the city for the upcoming America's Cup.

  • That means that it's closely linked to the problem of speculation that's plaguing this neighborhood. Eva Vidal and Juan Blaya are combating the illegal rental apartments in Barcelona.

  • They are two of 27 inspectors.

  • Their job is to find out whether there are short-term tourists living in apartments without a license.

  • Nearly 10,000 have been shut down in recent years.

  • It's tough work.

  • Nobody opens the door at the first appointment.

  • There are five apartments in this building that are under suspicion.

  • Things become clear at the next door they visit. "I need some information.

  • I just want to talk to you.

  • Is anyone living here or are you cleaning after someone moved out?" "Yes, that's… well, I'm just here for the cleaning company.

  • These apartments are for tourists." The wheels are finally starting to turn.

  • It's a lengthy process.

  • Nevertheless, it's been successful, especially with private landlords.

  • If you catch them, they actually stop.

  • But it's different with the large owners of 10, 15, 20, 60 apartments across Barcelona.

  • They don't really mind the 60,000 euro fine because they can quickly recoup the money from the other apartments. The experts also consider limits on vacation rentals to be an effective approach, but at the same time there is a clear rejection of other tourism alternatives.

  • All of these things need to be abolished, but we also have to be careful to make sure that changing this doesn't lead to elitism.

  • Thinking that the solution lies in quality tourism, which is actually a euphemism for tourism for the wealthy.

  • If more rich people come, it doesn't mean that tourism is better distributed, and there are not enough rich people for everyone. The main goal of the America's Cup is to make Barcelona attractive for wealthy tourists.

  • Like local resident Esther, the geographer thinks the approach is wrong.

  • This type of event will lead to a disastrous situation, which is part of the logic of creating events to attract wealthy tourists.

  • The fact that more rich people come does not enrich the majority, but impoverishes us and creates more inequality. Tourism is complicated.

  • It could have been slowed down this summer in Catalonia by a lack of water.

  • Then it rained just in time.

  • South of Barcelona, however, there is another example of how climate change can influence tourism over the long term.

  • In Calafell, sand is being brought in for a lot of money to prepare the beach for the high season. "We removed a plaza here that took up 800 meters of space on this beach.

  • It's stretched to where the man with the umbrella is.

  • There was no sand.

  • We removed the concrete about two months ago and we were able to create a new beach.

  • More beach for summer tourists.

  • Thanks to less concrete." That was one step.

  • Because storms keep washing away the beach in winter, tourists get less beach over the long term.

  • The raw material for tourism is sand.

  • This is where tourists come.

  • This is where they rest.

  • This is the main attraction, the main resource.

  • Sand in a scenario like this one with climate change is a major challenge.

  • The only natural sand reserve we have is these dunes. The Calafell model is considered an example of sustainability.

  • The big difference to Barcelona, however, is that large numbers of tourists only come here at the height of summer.

  • The rest of the time, residents and nature can relax.

  • In Barcelona, the high season lasts all year round.

  • That's why annoyed residents will also protest here against their eviction and the America's Cup.

Cathedral, beach, Rambla.

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