Barcelona residents recognise the importance of tourists coming to the city and the financial benefits of their visits, according to a new survey (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The study, carried out by GESOP on behalf of the consortium Turismo de Barcelona, found that more than half those questioned believe that tourism is the sector that brings the most wealth to Barcelona, with just five percent each identifying services and commerce as the areas that bring the most money here. In addition, the majority of those who took part said they think that tourists are no more unsocial in their behaviour than residents. This research is carried out quarterly by the tourism consortium to track local attitudes towards the temporary visitors to the city—in recent times, the idea had grown up that residents were unhappy with the rise in the number of tourists coming to the Catalan capital. However, the latest survey clearly contradicts this belief and stresses the importance that locals associate with the sector.
The Spanish public television organisation TVE had a successful first weekend without adverts, winning a significant audience share from its private rivals (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). On Sunday, 22 percent of those watching television in Spain watched TVE, compared to 13 percent who watched second-placed Telecinco; TVE was also the most-watched on Saturday with almost 15 percent of the audience share. On this showing, it seems that the public is responding positively to the change and the chance to watch, for instance, a film without any ad breaks—the most popular item on TVE during the weekend was Pirates of the Caribbean. The End of the World, which was watched by 5.6 million people, representing 31.7 percent of the audience share.
The Catalan health minister, Marina Geli, has said that companies that spent money to create a smoking area in the face of the last smoking restrictions will be given financial compensation in the face of the new total ban planned by the Spanish government (article in Catalan, Avui). The original anti-smoking law came in at the start of January 2006, which meant that venues, including restaurants and bars, over a certain size had to create an exclusive zone for smokers, which in many cases meant doing building work. As such, the announcement at the end of 2009 by the Spanish health minister that a full ban on smoking in public spaces would come in here at some point during 2010, has caused some business owners to react angrily as a result of the spend they had to make four years ago. Geli said that in certain cases and for a limited period, some companies would be able to apply for compensation, which would be offered in the form of a “fiscal moratorium”. It is thought that it will apply to some three percent of venues in Catalunya.
Also in the news: Spanish unemployment reached 3,923,603 by the end of 2009, although the rate of growth is slowing (El Periodico); Zapatero announces cabinet reshuffle when Spain ends its term of presidency of the EU (La Vanguardia); Barça take on Seville at Camp Nou in first leg of Copa del Rey tie (Avui)