Triple in a Turbulent Barcelona
Earlier in August, Triple launched in Barcelona and we are beyond excited to be present in this lively cultural city! We are also aware of the criticism around issues of tourism that has been prominent for the past few years, and which seems to currently be escalating in the form of an ‘anti-tourism’ movement.
The short story is that Spain, an economically troubled country, is breaking records year-after-year lately when it comes to increasing the numbers of tourist visiting. According to the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, Spain is the third most popular tourist destination in the world. Although tourism is generating a lot of income in Spain, many local small businesses and local tenants see how their businesses are being outnumbered by big cooperations and neighborhoods over-crowded. Some locals in Barcelona and other parts of Spain see this as a big problem as it negatively affects both the cultural and financial lives of many Spaniards.
Triple’s View on Tourism
Being a Swedish company with our headquarter in Stockholm, it would be ridiculous for us to state that we understand all the underlying issues and long time ongoing reasons for the current situation. We do, however, understand the frustration that some locals – and perhaps tourists – feel when the culture and depth of a lovely destination seem lost, or hard to find. With Triple, we want to give people an option that let locals present the real city they are living in, and travelers to feel invited and encouraged to experience the culture authentically.
With Triple, we work to create new ways of traveling together with you – the travel community. New ways of traveling for us means building tools that disrupt the industry in ways that benefit both the traveler and the locals; to enable possibilities for locals and travelers to meet and as a consequence create experiences and good times tied to the local culture, which makes for great learnings and beautiful memories for both parts.
A Comment from Triple’s Barcelona Ambassador
There are many views on the tourism situation in Barcelona, and we couldn’t possibly give voice to all of them in this short post, but we decided to ask our Barcelona Triple Ambassador, Milos, to share his thoughts on what is going on. We hope that it will inspire others to think about the situation and come up with ways to help prevent the negative side effects that tourism can bring to Barcelona and other places.
Milos, Triple’s Ambassador in Barcelona:
“Catalonia and Spain have been in decline economically for the last 10 years. It’s undeniable that without tourism the crisis would have been worse. Yet, locals blame tourists for higher costs of living and lower salaries. There is no other culprit.
I agree: it’s hard for a city the size of Barcelona (over 3 million people) to control such big number of tourists (over 9 million). However, it’s quite strange that there is no plan, not even a proper discussion. The local government suspended all licenses for new hotels and private rentals. That was all.
Nobody wonders why salaries are so low, or why people are not qualified to do higher paying jobs, or why there are no such jobs. There isn’t much else to do in Catalonia: It’s either tourism or real estate as the economy is not that diversified. When people with money (a few) make more money, they buy more apartments and increase rents. Again, I am not saying these are the causes and not tourism. What surprises me is how easily tourists are blamed. For instance, anyone that has visited Catalonia knows that Catalans (and Spanish) talk pretty loud, they party till late, do the “botellón “(friends drinking at a public park till dawn) and pee in the streets. It happens both in low and high season. But, the local government has campaigns ‘educating’ tourists, not locals.
Luckily the vast majority of Barcelona’s residents are aware of the importance of tourism. They travel themselves so they think it’s ridiculous to say I can go everywhere but you can’t come here. They know that whatever problems tourism may bring can be fixed. The benefits of cultural exchanges, having fun and getting to know the world far outnumber any downside.
Europe is extremely dense. If we all oppose tourism, we would be stuck in our tiny countries for ever, not moving. This is simply not an option. Barcelona is a city of very talented and intelligent people, so I’m confident this minor problem will be solved. And that was the other point I wanted to make. Things have been blown out of proportion. It’s a minority. A very loud one, but a minority.”
If you are traveling to Barcelona and are curious to talk more to Milos, or just let him show you the good and cultural side of Barcelona, he is also a Triple host and you can get in touch with him here.
What do you think?
If you have any thoughts that you want to share or ideas of how Triple or others can help Spain to ease the issue a bit, please get in touch however you prefer; by commenting below, find us on social media, or email us at email@example.com.