Taking a cruise to Barcelona anytime soon? Well, it might be about to get just that little bit more expensive. In a bid to tackle pollution in the Catalan city’s port zone, the local government is soon to impose a new tax on tourists who arrive in the city by cruise ship.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: isn’t there already a tourist tax in Barcelona? And you’d be right – there is. All visitors currently have to pay €1 (£0.90, $1.10) for a stay of up to 12 hours and €3 (£2.60, $3.20) for any longer than that. And that’s on top of another €1.75 (£1.50, $1.90) surcharge usually applied to hotel bookings.
The new tax will be imposed on top of current taxes and will be levied specifically on tourists arriving from cruises. The actual amount is set to be outlined by the Catalan government sometime over the next few weeks.
Barcelona is one of Europe’s busiest and most polluted cruise ports. The cruise docks are at the foot of the famous La Rambla – in other words, right in the centre of the city – and therefore subject some of the city’s busiest areas to the choking emissions of huge cruise ships. Cruises are a huge source of pollution, with many running on heavy crude oil that emits about 2,000 times more sulphur oxide than ordinary diesel.
The Catalan capital isn’t the only European city looking to cut back on cruises. Barcelona’s new tax follows Venice, which banned cruise ships from its central lagoon last year. Venice is also set to implement a ‘tourist tax’ in 2023 in a bid to reduce overcrowding.
While you’re here: Venice now won’t be introducing its tourist tax until 2023.
And did you see that hotel guests in Venice are also being given water pistols to shoot at seagulls?